Carol Grende Carmona, known artistically as C. A. Grende, our beautiful wife, sister and friend, passed away Monday, March 9, 2009, from pneumonia brought on as a complication of the leukemia she fought for 20 months. She was surrounded by family and all the love and prayers from her friends from around the world.
Carol was born at Grangeville in 1955 to Lila and Dale Grende. She was the youngest of five children: Mike; twins Tom and Ted; and Janene.
She made her mark early with her fun-loving smile and mischievous ways. Carol's life journey was filled with laughter, her husband David Carmona, great friends and art.
Since childhood she loved the story of Lewis and Clark. Carol was born 150 years to the day from when the Corps of Discovery traveled the Clearwater River near Kooskia, where the family lived. In fact, she lived most of her life along the Lewis and Clark trail and also attended Sacajawea Junior High School in Lewiston, then graduated from Lewiston High School in 1974.
She was the renowned sculptor of several historical monuments of the Lewis and Clark expedition that stand in many places across the country. Her larger-than-life-size sculpture of Lewis and Clark shaking hands to start their westward journey is placed at the Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville, Ind., overlooking the Ohio River. The sculpture is mounted on a 16-ton Jefferson limestone base and stands more than 14 feet tall overall. Another monument, "Sacajawea's Arduous Journey," exemplifies the feelings that were stirred within Carol's soul: "I have seen her in my mind's eye, a woman of great strength and perseverance. In her face is great determination. Sacajawea is truly a culmination of my career and represents the perseverance we all must have to proceed on in times of trouble." This sculpture is to be installed at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston during the summer of 2009. Castings will also be placed in Dayton, Wash., and Great Falls, Mont.
Carol was highly honored when she was invited by Bud Clark, a direct descendant of William Clark, to ride horseback across the Lolo pass in the bicentennial re-enactment of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Her final monument-sized sculpture was the "We Will Never Forget" Veterans Memorial, in Kalispell, Mont., which was installed July 2007. The 9-foot by 6-foot statue of a kneeling soldier was commissioned by the Flathead County Veterans and the Kalispell Elks Lodge in honor of brave veterans who sacrificed so much. While her monuments were the culmination of her life's work, Carol produced more than 100 sculptural designs, and was also known for her paintings, scratchboards and other artistic work.
Carol and David loved to travel and toured the United States from Monticello, Va., to Astoria, Ore., for historical research. She also showed her art in England and toured Scotland.
Survivors include husband, David; granddaughter Leandra; great-granddaughters Jamie Rose and Skyler Maude; Carol's sister, Janene; brother, Ted; and nieces and nephews, Tomi, Stacy, Kellie, Jason, Dawn, LaRinda and Jessi; and their families. Along with some of the greatest girlfriends a person could ever have, Pat, Brenda, Karen, Ann, Norma, the list could go on.
Preceding her in death were her parents, Dale and Lila Grende; and brothers, Mike and Tom.
Carol's children were the four-legged type, her cat Black Cat; and horses, Britches, Jaunty, who she rode over Lolo Pass, Little Bit and Laddie. Her two favorite trail buddies who preceded her in death were Bo, her walkaloosa, and Dee, her Dalmatian.
Carol loved to be outdoors with them and said, "The trails to me are sacred, they are my favorite places to be. Along them walk the spirits of so many who have gone before us. When you are out there by yourself, as I often am, my imagination runs wild with images of the past. I believe the spirits are there guiding me, protecting me from danger. I feel their presence as I ride horseback - the same fresh wind blows across my face."
Memorials may be made to: CA Grende Memorial Fund benefit account, P.O. Box 7130, Kalispell, MT 59904.
A celebration of her life is planned for June 27 at Big Arm; for details e-mail her sister at email@example.com.
She'd like to leave you with this thought: "Charge on...Have no fear!"