Long-time Hyde Park resident Carol Jean Olson Wyche died on January 21, 2016, at her Avenue F home, after a two-year battle with breast cancer.
Carol lived a rich and multi-faceted life. She was born in 1945 in Omaha, Nebraska. She attended Rice University, where she majored in German, and then spent two years in the Marines before coming to Austin to major in linguistics at the University of Texas.
She was a consummate teacher. Her belief that there was always more than one way to learn something attracted students to her. She worked for the Austin State Hospital for five years as a special education teacher, home schooled her sister’s two children, and taught English as a second language for several non-profit and for-profit organizations. She concluded her official teaching career at Huntington-Surrey School, a private day high school, where she taught German. At Huntington-Surrey School, her ability to mentor difficult students won her respect and admiration from her peers. Along the way, she acquired certifications for teaching Yoga and teaching the Usui system of Natural Healing.
Many knew Carol as a fiber artist, a member of both the Knitters and Crocheters Guild of Central Texas and the Weavers and Spinners Guild. She published her patterns through her own company, Firewheel Designs. She was a regular at Pioneer Farms, where she dressed in pioneer costume and displayed for tourists such traditional crafts as spinning wool into yarn, and she was the spinning instructor at a fiber arts studio in Wimberley.
Her facility with language and linguistics was another thing for which she was known. Nobody could beat her at Boggle; she not only knew more words than anyone else, she knew their derivations as well. Her friends note in awe that she filled in crossword puzzles in ink.
Carol and her husband George moved into their Hyde Park home on Avenue F in 1972. According to George, “We knew from the beginning we were blest with an ideal home in Hyde Park.” Their son Geoffrey, born a year later, grew up in Hyde Park and attended the Austin Montessori School on Duval. The Wyche household was known for its parties, particularly on April Fool’s Day.
Add to all that an unflappable nature and a cheerful disposition, and it’s easy to understand why Carol will be missed by her Hyde Park neighbors.