Cover photo for Carolyn Shaffer's Obituary
Carolyn Shaffer Profile Photo
1947 Carolyn 2023

Carolyn Shaffer

November 9, 1947 — September 18, 2023

Carolyn Shaffer, a deeply generous mother, sister, friend, and former nurse, passed away in Bellingham on September 18, 2023 at the age of 75 surrounded by her three loving sons and sisters. She was born November 9, 1947 in San Diego, CA to Boyd and Audrey (Wolz) Shaffer and grew up in Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii. She graduated from Hilo High School in 1965 and then went on to earn her BS degree from the University of New Mexico in 1970.

Carolyn married Stephen Friedman and they moved to Bellingham where they raised their four sons, Phil, Matthew, Doug, and Michael. Carolyn worked early on in her career as an RN at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, and after raising her four sons, returned to nursing where she served as a registered nurse in the cardiovascular unit at St. Joseph Hospital for over 12 years. She was known by her colleagues as an experienced, sharp clinician, and was an unwavering advocate for her patients. Carolyn earned the nickname “Mama Bear” from her fellow nurses because of the role she played as a teacher, supporter, and leader.

Many aspects of Carolyn’s upbringing in Hawaii carried with her throughout her life. She enjoyed listening to Gabby Pahinui and other Hawaiian musicians while cooking a delicious meal for her family or friends. She loved flowers, especially tropical varieties, which she often had on display around her house. She loved the sounds, smells, and feeling of swimming in the ocean. Most notably though, Carolyn stood out as a living example of “aloha” - the Hawaiian word for “love, peace, and compassion.” Her generosity and nurturing instincts came through in every aspect of her life and interactions with family, friends, colleagues, patients, and even strangers.

Carolyn loved spending time with her family and friends, reading, traveling, and cooking for others. As “Grammy,” Carolyn played a special role in the lives of her grandchildren, which was equal parts short-order cook, friend, adventurer, snuggler, jokester, reading companion, mischief-maker, and unsolicited gift-giver.

Carolyn and her three sisters shared a tight bond, stemming from their childhood together in Hilo. Together, they talked, traveled, cooked, and laughed often.

Carolyn was welcomed into Heaven by her parents, her son Matthew Friedman, and her close friend Cherie Webster. She is survived by three sons, Phil (Erin) Friedman, Doug Friedman, and Michael Friedman, grandchildren Lydia, Calla, Elliott, and Oliver, sisters Gayle Shaffer, Jeanne Shaffer, and Patsy (John) Cooper, nephew Kevin (Nikita) Cooper, former husband Stephen Friedman, and many loving relatives and friends.

A celebration of Carolyn's life will be held at the Squalicum Boathouse at Zuanich Point Park at 11am on Monday, October 2nd. Memorials may be made to Whatcom Hospice Foundation.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Carolyn Shaffer, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Monday, October 2, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Pacific time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Photo Gallery

Visits: 8

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree