Carolyn Whitley Harding

Published 3:58 pm Wednesday, June 12, 2024

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Carolyn Whitley Harding, a dedicated and loyal fixture of Beaufort County, North Carolina, passed away on May 28, 2024, just shy of her 94th birthday. Born in Washington on October 28, 1930, to Wilbur “Bill” and Nellie Whitley, Carolyn spent most of her life in service to her community and those she loved. An accomplished woman, Carolyn was a graduate of Duke University and a dedicated educator at Chatham Hall before taking over her family’s farm when her father passed. She managed the land on Durham Creek near Aurora with tenacity for eight years, then transitioned to a position with Texas Gulf’s land department. Upon retiring from Texas Gulf, Carolyn found her ultimate calling as a social worker with Washington City Schools, a role she cherished. Recognized for her unwavering dedication and loyalty, she also served as a Beaufort County Commissioner, a longstanding member of the Washington Noon Rotary Club, and a member of the Committee of 100. She also was a proud member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. Carolyn was a woman of the world, her love for travel taking her to corners both domestic and international. Yet, her heart was always in Washington, NC, the town she loved and served. She was a guiding light, leading by example in her dedication to supporting growth in Beaufort County. Carolyn’s love for her family, friends, and community was evident in every action she took. Carolyn is survived by her sister, Billie Whitley Best of New Bern, NC; her nieces and nephews, Dr. Carolyn Taylor (Lt. Col. Eric Weissberger, USMC Ret.) of Mt. Pleasant, SC, Roy Taylor, IV (Rebecca) of Wilmington, NC, Allison Coward (Robert) of New Bern, NC, Dr. Lauren Taylor (John Cooper) of Washington, NC, Nell Browder (Donnie) of Morehead City, NC, Bill Swinson (Andrea) of Gibsonville, NC, and Edmund Swinson (Karel) of Greenville, NC. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Edmund Harding; her parents, Wilbur “Bill” and Nellie Whitley; and her sister, Jane Swinson. Friends and Family will gather for a memorial service to honor Carolyn at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 22, 2024 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Washington, NC. A reception will be held at the church for family and friends following the service. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in her name to the Washington Noon Rotary Club Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 84, Washington, NC 27889. To honor Carolyn’s extraordinary life, we invite you to share your memories, stories, and personal photos on her memorial page. In this way, we can keep her spirit alive and celebrate the legacy she left behind.

Memories of Carolyn may be shared at

Bennett Funeral and Cremation Care is honored to serve the family and friends of Carolyn Harding.