Caroline Sue Vernia
January 13, 1960 - August 21, 2021
Obituary For Caroline Sue Vernia
Caroline Sue “Carrie” Vernia, 61, passed away peacefully on August 21, 2021 at her home in Raleigh, NC. She was born in Highland Park, MI, on January 13, 1960 to Peter and Sue Vernia. She graduated from Adams HS in Rochester, MI, and studied philosophy at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, MI. While at Kalamazoo, she was editor of the school newspaper and earned the Henry Brown Prize for outstanding participation in the college community. In 1982, she received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship that provided the opportunity for her to spend 9 months living in Thailand with Hmong refugees.
She moved to Raleigh in 1992 and began working with Lutheran Family Services where she continued her service with the refugee community in the triangle area. She later switched paths and achieved a MS in Forestry at NC State University, subsequently working as a research technician in the Plant Pathology department where she authored and co-authored several articles with a focus on NC fungal ecosystems. In 2005, she combined her desire to help others and her love for science by becoming a teacher at Sanderson HS, where she taught science, ESL, and night school before her retirement in 2017. After her retirement, she continued to serve others through her work with P.E.O. International, the Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail, the JC Raulston Arboretum, and Brown Bag Ministries, among others. She was overjoyed to become a grandmother in 2020.
Carrie had a gift for finding the good in everyone, and a passion for social justice and education. She was a dedicated educator who encouraged and inspired many. Above all, she will be remembered for her kindness and compassion.
Carrie is survived by her parents; her daughter, Hannah (Justin) Williamson and grandson, Charles of Durham, NC; her two brothers, Dan Vernia of Grand Blanc, MI, and Ben (Carol Ritchie) Vernia of Arlington, VA; niece, Annabel; nephews, Peter, Willy, and Colin (Devynn Rains); great-niece, Kaia; and great-nephew, Miles.
Friends are welcome to drop by in celebration of her life between 2:30-5:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 2, 2021, at William B. Umstead State Park, Crabtree Creek Picnic Shelter #1. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Refugee Hope Partners.