It seems every story about Carol Coltrain starts with hair and her first career as a Middleburgh hairdresser.
Clara Potter remembers coming to Middleburgh 40 years ago “about the time Carol was starting the Middleburgh Golden Agers for all the seniors coming into her shop.”
Ethel Benninger’s known her for even longer—“Probably 50 years…She kept me a gorgeous blonde…We used to wear those big beehive hairdos…”
Margie Rivenburg recalls the days when Mrs, Coltrain’s shop was a Main Street fixture right next to the Middleburgh Theater.
And even before Doris Wood moved to Middleburgh fulltime “Carol was doing my hair.”
The 2008 Times-Journal Star has come a long way from those days.
Or maybe not.
“Her grandmother lived next door and she was always such an inspiration to Carol,” said Ms.Potter.
“She had so many seniors coming into her shop and nothing for them to do. That’s why she started the Golden Agers. She was always interested in older people, but I think that’s where it really blossomed.”
Ms. Rivenburg, who’s known Ms. Coltrain since they were high school freshmen, can speak to her other talents:
After she came down with chicken pox during the senior production of “Our Town,” Ms. Coltrain, who was working behind the scenes, stepped into her role.
“Carol has always had a heart of gold and so many talents,” she said. “I don’t think many people know that she’s written and directed the seniors’ Vaudeville show forever…”
Ms. Rivenburg is a member of the Huntersland Methodist Church, where under Ms. Coltrain’s leadership, the congregation has grown from four or five people to 10 times that.
“She’s always been a very interesting lady,” Ms. Rivenburg added. “She knows how to handle herself. She’s very dignified in any situation.”
Ms. Benninger was Ms. Coltrain’s predecessor at the Office for the Aging.
“I guess I was working for SCCAP when we first met,” she said, “and we had a lot in common and when I became the first OFA director, then we really had a lot in common.
“We just worked together from the beginning on so many things…nutrition, transportation, recreation, longterm care…to improve the lives of senior citizens. Carol was always there and we’re still very close friends.”
Ms. Benninger said Ms. Coltrain’s unique in that she always sees the good in everyone.
“She’s very upbeat and positive and I think that’s why she’s able to get so much done,” she added.
Ms. Coltrain was in her 20s when she started the Golden Agers, remembers Ms. Wood, who moved to Middleburgh fulltime in 1972 and is now a member herself.
“She just never stops,” Ms. Wood said. “She’s always been the kind of person who can’t do enough for you and I think her grandmother was her inspiration.
“When the church needed a minister…she went in that direction. And the Vaudeville show—that’s a tremendous amount of work and she makes it look easy.
“One thing we’ve always agreed on: If you don’t use it, you lose it. Carol’s always taken that to heart.”