Carolyn Frantzen LaBouliere, always one to surprise with her sparkling and effervescent personality, had one last surprise by passing away suddenly after a short illness on November 27th, 2023 with her husband Richard at her side. She was 77.
She is survived by Richard, her devoted husband and companion of 32 years, her son Gavin Odle and grandson Will Odle. She also leaves behind her brothers Robert and Douglas Frantzen, her step children Scott, Michael, and Amy LaBouliere and grandchildren Sarah, Hannah, Audrey, Jacob and Matthew.
Born and raised in Summit NJ to Chell and Carol Frantzen, she made many friends there, several of whom became strong lifelong friends. In high school she excelled in her studies but was also gregarious and strong-willed, having many pitched battles at home with her equally strong-willed father. After graduating from Summit High in 1964 she moved to St. Louis to attend Southern Illinois University where she earned a Master’s Degree in English, developing a lifelong love of books and literature.
After moving to Houston in the early ‘70’s, she spent a career in teaching, most notably at Klein High School where she taught honors English. Carolyn’s deep passion for teaching was evident to students and other teachers alike. A former student- now an Associate Professor- posted recently: “Mrs. LaBouliere was my English teacher at Klein for two years and was one of the greatest teachers I ever had in any subject. And I have had some great teachers. She was full of passion for reading and clear writing. She was relentless on encouraging her students to express themselves truly and freely. Dead Poets society came out while I was in her class, and I thought she was the model for the character Mr. Keating”.
Carolyn’s personality was a force of nature. She lit up every room and conversation with her wit and infectious laugh and took a deep interest in everyone, ofttimes with irreverent, inquisitive and probing questions.
Her colorful personality was matched by her attire. While not a native Texan, once in Houston Carolyn fully embraced the flashy style of Texas. She never came to breakfast unless fully made up (sometimes being accused of commandeering a shared bathroom in the process) and loved bright colors, sequins, jewelry and colorful nails- the flashier the better! Likewise, she liked to decorate their home in Seabrook, decking it out for all holidays, particularly Halloween and Christmas.
After retiring from teaching, she and Richard were stationed in many wonderful places as part of Richard’s job with Exxon Mobile, including Melbourne, Singapore and Tokyo; as well as some not so nice places like Venezuela, for which she would proudly display her very large “suffer” ring. As she would say, “a happy wife makes a happy life!”. Carolyn was also editor of the Stars and Stripes military news while overseas. After Richard retired, they continued to travel all over the world and played tennis, golf and loved to scuba dive.
Carolyn was also an accomplished bridge player, playing in many tournaments and going on bridge cruises throughout her life, reaching Sapphire Life Master. In later years she also became a Mah Jong enthusiast, making many more friends in the Houston area.
She was dedicated to family, spending time on the Cape with Richard’s family, in Maine with her brothers, and never missed Thanksgiving in New Jersey with family. She was devoted to her grandson Will, and “Glammy” took a keen interest in his upbringing, taking him several times to NYC to visit the Museum of Natural History and see many plays and shows. She was also a firm believer in the Disney credit card which provided her the immense pleasure of taking Will on several cruises.
Carolyn loved life and seemed to be in a hurry to enjoy it to the fullest; It was not unusual for Carolyn to impetuously jump on a plane to see a Bruce Springsteen concert or to come to Portland, Maine for a magical winter weekend to see her niece Molly star in a play.
Whether by intuition or design she and Richard traveled the world during the last year of her life, from Melbourne, Australia to visit old friends to London, Paris, Rome, NYC and Boston.
Carolyn was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, step aunt, sister-in-law, sister and friend. She was one of a kind and will be dearly missed.
Please join us in celebrating Carolyn’s remarkable life at the Sundance Grill II in Kemah, TX, on February 3, 2024, at 1:30 pm. We welcome all friends and family to share stories, memories, and support during this time. Your presence and memories will add warmth to this gathering, reflecting the love and joy Carolyn brought into our lives. Let us come together to celebrate a life well-lived.
Food and refreshments will be served. Please inform the family if you will be attending by sending a message (along with the total number in your party) so we can plan accordingly.
In honor of Carolyn’s wishes, please consider making a donation to Doctors Without Borders in her name, in lieu of flowers. Your support will contribute to a cause that held a special place in Carolyn’s heart.