Carolyn Johnson Richey

Carolyn Johnson Richey had a lifelong calling for helping others. She was born in Greensboro, NC, on September 25, 1939, to Joseph Samuel and Frances “Nana” Johnson.

Carolyn attended Charlotte Central High School, where she met the love of her life and husband of 67 years, Mike Richey. In the mid 60’s, she began volunteering at her children’s elementary school, Nations Ford Elementary, which led to a 30 + years in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System. Her drive to help didn’t end at the schoolhouse, and she devoted any spare time she could find to volunteer at her beloved First Christian Church.

When her mother became ill and needed hospice care, Carolyn found another outlet to spread her infectious joy at Levine & Dickson Hospice House for nearly a decade. From perfectly coiffed hair to expertly lacquered nails, Carolyn always dressed to impress and loved to care for and entertain.

Growing up, her family never ate the same thing twice and enjoyed her creative refrigerator recipes ranging from the timeless broccoli casserole and lasagna to the more imaginative shrimp fondue and “hotdog things,” washing everything down with her famous frozen peach fuzzies! Carolyn was also humorous and quirky, which was evident by her collection of witch and rooster memorabilia that adorned her house inside and out.

Above all, she loved her family, and her family loved her back. She went by many names – Mama, Memommie, Grandmother, Grandma, Memi, and Mommie-me – and cherished them all. Carolyn and Mike created a large family, and nothing made her happier than when someone came to visit.

As the family grew with new spouses and more babies, the Richey house often had too many family members to count, especially at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Kamp Kelsey during the summertime, when you could hear the laughter from across the lake. Carolyn especially loved supporting her grandchildren and made every one of them feel special. Her calendar was always filled with sporting events, performances, recitals, and competitions which she never wanted to miss. She was truly a special grandmother.

On Saturday, June 11, 2022, Carolyn, passed away peacefully at the age of 82 with her family by her side. Carolyn will be missed greatly by her devoted husband, Mike Richey; her 6 children, Mickey Richey (Sam Howard), Lorrette Hyde, Laura Podraza (Erik), Lisa Padgett (Clay), Joe Johnson (Dawn), and Chris Johnson (Misty); her 11 grandchildren, Kelsey Harris (Blake), Audrey Helms (Arthur), Ethan Hyde, Sarah Frances and Caleb Padgett, Katherine and Graham Podraza, Karsyn, Tyler, and Bradley Johnson, and Cameron Howard (Amber); her 4 great-grandchildren, Artie, Lily, Beckham, and Addison; and her vigilant watchdog, Delilah.

A special thanks to the staff at Carolina Caring Hospice House for their compassion, support, and reassurance during such a difficult time.

A memorial celebration will take place at First Christian Church in Charlotte, NC, on Saturday, June 25 at 2 PM.

Donations may be made in lieu of flowers to First Christian Church, 1200 East Blvd. Charlotte, NC 28203 or Carolina Caring Hospice House, 3975 Robinson Rd. Newton, NC 28658

7 Responses to Carolyn Johnson Richey

  1. Dawn J B Johnson June 21, 2022 at 8:48 am #

    When you get married, you always wonder how your in laws will be. I got lucky and love each of them. I was most worried about my mother in law b/c she always looked her best and could cook anything and everything. I was worried that I wouldn’t measure up to her and I thought that was what she wanted. I was wrong. All she wanted was for me to be a part of the family. It didn’t matter if I couldn’t cook like her or the rest of her family. Joe and I could bring the ice or drinks or whatever else that didn’t require much cooking or my part would be at the end of the meal by finding containers to put the leftovers in and making space in the refrigerator and deboning the turkey. When she had something for church and she wanted to talk the craft or children’s sermon through with someone, she would call or text me to listen to her idea and offer what I could. The time I felt the closest to her was when she asked me if I would do the graveside service for her mother since their pastor wouldn’t be able to make it that day. It was then that I knew she really did love and respected me and I her. After that time there would be more times that we each showed love and respect for each other. When she had her back surgery I stayed with her morning noon and night for a couple of days so others could get things done without having to worry about her. She liked the way I got her up from being seated so if i was there, she would reach out to me to help her. The last time I was with her, she and I spoke together. For me, the Parkinson always seemed worse than the dementia. If I asked her a question and be patient, I would get an answer. A couple of the things that we talked about that day were I told her that I really hated she was having to go through these things and she told me, me too. When I felt she was just staring at me I asked if she was thinking of something to say and the words weren’t coming out? She shook her head no. She seemed to stare some more so I asked her what she was thinking about, I wasn’t sure what if anything I would get for an answer but after a very long pause she told me I was cute. Before I left that day, I asked her if she knew I loved her and her family and she shook her head yes and then told me she loved me. That was the last time I chose to see her. I wanted those memories and not how she was at the time of her dying. I love you, mom. I hope you and Nana will invite my mom for some 4 roses or peach fuzzies.

  2. Kathy Robertson June 21, 2022 at 12:02 pm #

    Beautifully written memories. Tears in my eyes for Joe, you and your family. Much love, Kathy

  3. Paula Ellington June 21, 2022 at 3:54 pm #

    We are so saddened by the loss of this sweet lady who graciously shared her grandchildren and daughter with us and always seemed happy that we loved them as she did. I know she has earned her jewels in her crown in heaven. Our prayers go out to Mike and family. I know Carolyn and Nana are rejoicing in heaven. Jay and Paula

  4. JoEllen McIntire June 22, 2022 at 10:16 am #

    Heaven has a brand new angel, and Carolyn is continuing her earthly mission of always putting others first. What a beautiful ‘spirt’ of love, joy, and hope. Even though I never met your mom, Laura, I feel like I know her so well from the inspirational words your family dedicated for your mom’s ‘celebration of life!’ Prayers ascending for Carolyn’s beautiful family! Much love, JoEllen and family! We love you, sweet Laura!

  5. Laura Podraza June 22, 2022 at 7:12 pm #

    Thank you for your sweet words, JoEllen! Love you too!

  6. Margaret Cline Wert June 26, 2022 at 1:58 pm #

    I was so saddened to hear of Carolyn’s passing. The Richey family was a great part of our cherished Westover Hills Presbyterian Church. They were also special friend’s of my sister, Eloise Stilwell. Prayers for the entire family.

  7. CathyJo Young June 30, 2022 at 9:24 pm #

    Carolyn and Mike were my Friday hospice family at Levine Dickson Hospice House for many years and I love them dearly. They both always had lots of great family stories and compassion for the families we helped at LDHH.
    She loved her family and was fiercely proud of them all. Take good care of each other.

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