Artist and educator Dr. Carol Elise Augthun peacefully took her last breath on Friday, October 9, 2020, with her daughter Erika Leigh Cox and son Gregory Peter Augthun by her side. A loving mother, grandmother, sister, friend and neighbor, she will forever be remembered for her overflowing generosity, her inexhaustible creativity and her honest guidance which overflowed to scores of friends, colleagues, students and acquaintances. Born November 26, 1942, in Jersey City, NJ, Carol was the daughter of the late Stephen Safka and Pauline Mater Safka. After studying art at Montclair State University in NJ, she took to The Big Apple to live a life that would seem familiar to creative people drawn to New York in any era. While working as a model in Manhattan's garment district during the day, she turned to perfecting her art of silk-screening to make a name for herself and to pave the way for a lifelong career as a professional artist. She succeeded. In 1977 she moved from New Jersey to Spartanburg to teach art full time with Spartanburg District 7 schools. Earning advanced degrees from the University of South Carolina, Dr. A, as her students called her, taught art successfully at every level from kindergarten through high school, with assignments at Chapman Elementary, E.P. Todd Elementary, Mary H. Wright Elementary, Whitlock Junior High, McCracken Junior High School, Woodruff High School (District 4), Carver Junior High School and Pine Street Elementary School. During her last year at Pine Street, she received the South Carolina State Fair's Student Art Education Teacher Award, recognizing the teacher with the most students receiving awards at the State Fair. With 12, Dr. Augthun earned the Teacher Award more than any other recipient. Throughout her 40-year career, Dr. A remained focused on inspiring young minds to be creative and helping them to reach their full potential. She dearly loved her students and wholeheartedly believed creative children become the innovative leaders for tomorrow, and that we needed them for our future to be bright. Carol spent much of her time traveling the world, finding new inspirations from the places she visited. In 1994, she was awarded a Smithsonian Fellowship to study the Harlem Renaissance in Washington, DC. In 1996, she earned a prestigious Fulbright Memorial Fellowship to study in Japan. In her later years Dr. A's works encompassed a broad range of mediums from mixed media, drawing, ceramics, and painting. Among her recognitions are seven Best-In-Shows, more than 20 first prizes in extensive juried shows, and numerous awards from the Spartanburg Art Association. A tireless advocate, she was credited with making tremendous strides in the development of visual arts at both the local and state level through her involvement with the Guild of South Carolina Artists, the Artists Guild of Spartanburg, and Southern Exposure. Her art has been exhibited in galleries all over the East Coast from the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC to Wooster Street in New York City, and her works are featured in many collections both private and public. Beyond her artistic talents, Carol endeared innumerable friends with her generous soul and charming personality. She loved a good time and throwing parties, bringing joy, excitement and happiness to those around her. Having always been a phenomenal cook and a gracious host, the prospect of a large dinner party thrilled her, though the main course was rarely on the table by 10 p.m. Brave, funny, intelligent, opinionated and quirky - all qualities that drew so many to her and made her so loveable. Carol loved the beach in South Carolina, where Pawleys Island became a lifelong summer tradition and a place where she said, "miracles occurred." Carol nurtured Erika and Greg from tiny sand crabs to adults, and had miraculous experiences of true and unparalleled friendships with the "beach ladies." Carol enjoyed playing bridge and Scrabble, and there are many who can testify to her expertise with the New York Times Crossword Puzzle. She traveled extensively abroad with her children, exposing them to new cultures, fostering personal growth, openness and acceptance. The history of her close-knit family deepened when Carol became a grandmother. Definitely the best place was capturing the heart and imagination of her precious little granddaughter Lily. A woman of faith and personal commitment, Carol was a member of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church. Those left to cherish her memory include: her loving and devoted children Greg Augthun, and Erika Cox and her husband, Tres Cox, and her treasured granddaughter Lily Dargis, all of Spartanburg; her brothers Stephen Safka (predeceased by wife Mary) of Asbury Park, NJ, and Paul Safka and wife Ellen of Manaquan, NJ; her niece Elizabeth Mattson and her husband John of Pt. Pleasant, NJ; her nephews, Stephen Safka and his wife Courtney of Delran, NJ and Eric Safka of Neptune, NJ; and her beloved grandniece and grandnephews: Kaitlin Safka, Christian Safka, Brendan Safka, Andrew Mattson, and Sebastian Safka; and a vast extended family and a host of former students, colleagues and friends, all whose lives were enriched just by knowing Carol. She is predeceased by her former husband, Henry Augthun; as well as sister-in-laws Helen Augthun and Mary Safka. The family has chosen to hold a celebration of life at a later date to properly celebrate Carol's life at a time when it is safe for all of us to gather. Memorials may be made in Carol Augthun's memory to The Pine Street School Foundation, PO Box 7213, Spartanburg, SC 29304, or The Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg, 200 East St. John Street, Spartanburg, SC 29306. An online guest register is available at www.floydmortuary.com Floyd's North Church Street Chapel To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Carol Elise Augthun please visit our Sympathy Store.
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