Carol Patterson Niemann

  • Born: May 24, 1939
  • Died: January 7, 2019
  • Location: Austin, Texas

Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
Tel. (512) 452-8811

Tribute & Message From The Family

Her name was "Sweetheart" to her husband, "Mom" to her daughters, and "Cita" to her grandchildren.

This is an amazing story about a woman who was remarkable and humble beyond belief and who was loved by more people than you could possibly imagine. She was a wonderful wife and an untiring mother of three incredible daughters. She became a paraplegic from an airplane crash four months after her marriage 53 years ago and was confined to her wheelchair until the end of her life at age 79. But she never let her disability deter her from being a ray of sunshine to all in her presence. She was a very special person to everyone who knew her. She always did for others and not herself. She never complained about her handicap and rarely, if ever, said an unkind word about anyone. She was gracious to all. She was so gentle and easy to talk to and comfortable to be with. Her bravery and strength were easily evident. She was beautiful…even more so inside. She passed away suddenly and peacefully with her three daughters and her husband at her side. Her name was "Sweetheart" to her husband, "Mom" to her daughters, and "Cita" to her grandchildren.

Her other name was Carol Jean Patterson Niemann.

Carol was born May 24, 1939 in Austin, Texas and was the daughter of Woodrow Wilson Patterson and Eileen Bertha Wilson Patterson. She left us on January 7, 2019 after a brief illness. During her lifetime, she found endless (and often hilarious) ways to accomplish her goals, all the while maintaining her endearing southern belle kindness and poise. One such example that she often recounted to her family with a twinkle in her eye was her meticulous and masterful plan to make sure a young man she wanted to date took note of her. For weeks she and her girlfriends set up residence at church a few pews in front of him. At the end of the service she scurried out to make sure she could "happen to be standing" in just the right place outside of the sanctuary to catch his eye. Needless to say, her plan succeeded and that fellow churchgoer, Larry Niemann, became her husband for more than a half century.

Carol grew up the eldest of six children. Her childhood and early adulthood was a charming and eclectic mix of pet ducks, sock hops, dove hunts, waterskiing, tennis tournaments, Barton Springs swimming, black tie galas, and memorable times with so many different people, many of whom she treasured as lifelong friends from Stephen F. Austin High School and her beloved Alpha Phi Sorority at The University of Texas. She was and remained to her death a stunning beauty, both inside and out.

After graduating from UT, she applied her energy to teaching, serving as a public school special education teacher in Annapolis, Maryland and later in Austin at Pease Elementary and O.Henry Junior High. She married Larry on August 7, 1965. Just four months later on their way to a skiing vacation, she and Larry were passengers in a private airplane that crashed. The crash left her paralyzed from the waist down. That permanent disability would put her resourcefulness to the test...and she passed with flying colors for the remainder of her life. She endured many months of hospitalization after the crash, but her spirit persisted and she poured herself into motherhood, family, and volunteerism.

Her many volunteer roles and accolades include being president of Austin March of Dimes, Alpha Phi Austin Alumni Club, Delta Delta Delta Parents' Club, Junior Austin Woman's Club, University Ladies Club, Austin Lawyer's Auxiliary, and Texas Lawyer's Auxiliary. She also served as an officer or executive committee member of Austin Nature Center, Carousel Dance Club, Helping Hand Home for Children, the PTAs of all her daughters' schools, St. David's Hospital Rehabilitation Advisory Board, and UT-Austin College of Education Dean's Association. She was most recently honored with a lifetime achievement award by the Texas Lawyers Auxiliary.

Although she gave much in her volunteer roles, her most precious role was that of "Mom". Hers was always the Pied Piper house. All her daughters' friends loved to come there. Many friends were so close (and Carol so resourceful!) that just like her own daughters, her daughters' friends were cheerfully assigned chores at the house. Somehow Carol made them fun. Her kind, caring, and fun-loving nature shone from her like a beacon. Always a good listener and always looking out for others, scores of her daughters' friends throughout the years came to view Carol as a second mother. When her girls were very young, she would load them into the car, pull her wheelchair in behind her, and drive the girls to their activities--not only in Austin but also to tennis tournaments all over the state. If a curb stopped her and her little girls were not yet strong enough to get her up over the curb, she would simply wait until a stranger came along to help.

Later in life she relished the role of grandmother to her four grandchildren. For many years, she and Larry took full advantage of their lakehouse getaway in Horseshoe Bay to often bring the family together for player piano playing, fishing, sailing, motorboating, sunset viewing, margarita making, piñata busting, football watching, and card and board games (which curiously she "never seemed to have played before" but always seemed to win.)

Her grandkids treasured their "Cita" and her endless supply of breakfast bacon, smoothies, microwave popcorn, ice cream, and most of all love. We feel so fortunate to have had the most wonderful wife, mother, grandmother, and role model any family could have asked for.

Carol is survived by her husband of 53 years, Larry Harkness Niemann, and by her daughters Connie Catherine Heyer of Austin, Sherry Suzanne Willerson and her husband Trey of Houston, and Nancy Nicole Weeks and her husband Jamie of Stanley, Idaho. She is survived by four grandchildren, Nicole Catherine Heyer, William (Will) Thomas Heyer, William Darrell ("Dare") Willerson IV, and Hale August Willerson. She is survived by her siblings Don (Carroll) Patterson, Kirk (Carol) Patterson, Susan Patterson Johnson, Scott (Carolyn) Patterson, and by many nieces, nephews, cousins. She is predeceased by her parents Woodrow and Eileen Patterson and her sister Connie Patterson.

Her strength and spirit will be remembered by every person who knew her. A celebration of her life will be held February 8, 2019 at 2:00 pm at the Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church at the corner of Bee Cave Road and Barton Creek Boulevard (7127 Bee Cave Road, Austin, Texas 78746). Reception to immediately follow. Donations in her memory may be made to the Helping Hand Home for Children in Austin; or flowers are welcome at the church.


Condolence & Memory Journal

Larry, my parents join me in sending our warmest condolences to you and all the family. Carol was truly a remarkable person, and this tribute to her is beautiful. We're so sorry for your loss.

Posted by Amy Lebowitz Greenspan - Austin, TX - Family Friend   February 08, 2019

I feel so grateful to have known Carol Niemann. She was an example for us all with her constant expressions of beauty, charm, grace and kindness. Her legacy is carried on in her three wonderful daughters. With love for the Niemann family, Elizabeth Owen

Posted by Elizabeth Owen - Elgin, TX - Friend   February 04, 2019

Beautiful lady, beautiful legacy

Posted by Ronny Attal - Austin, TX - Friend   February 03, 2019

Our thoughts and prayers for comfort are with you and yours. Elizabeth and Rox Covert

Posted by ROX COVERT - AUSTIN, TX - Family Friend   January 30, 2019

Jonathan and I are devastated by the news of Carol's passing. What a joy to know and see even occasionally. Her happy spirit was infectious and cheered all those around her. How she will be missed by so many! Deepest sympathy, Holly and Jonathan Decherd

Posted by Jonathan Decherd Decherd - GEORGETOWN, TX - Classmate   January 29, 2019

I owe so very much to Carol and all of her family. They allowed a young photographer to practice on them and continued their support for all the years since. Despite having spent the last 40 years in photos and writing, I find it impossible to adequately quantify the depth of my respect, admiration and love for a phenomenal lady. Thank you so much for sharing her with all of us. Love and prayers, Robert Godwin

Posted by Robert Godwin - Austin, TX - Friend   January 28, 2019

John and I send our blessings to the Niemann family. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.
In His love and ours, The Braziel Family

Posted by Kay Braziel Braziel - Austin, TX - Friend   January 25, 2019

A wonderful obituary for a wonderful woman...She was amazing & I feel blessed by her friendship. May good memories comfort her family. Carole Buckman

Posted by Carole Buckman - AUSTIN, TX - Friend   January 24, 2019

What a beautiful recounting of an extraordinary life! I am so sorry for your loss and trust that you are being comforted by this community which Carol created and nurtured.
Marisue Tallichet

Posted by Marisue Tallichet - Houston, TX - Family Friend   January 23, 2019

Big hugs to all of you. I have so many happy memories at that home with sweet Carol!! What an amazing woman!!

Posted by Liza Richardson - Austin, TX - Friend   January 20, 2019

Carol was a true ray of sunshine! I was so blessed to have known her most of my life. She was an inspiration to us all. Thank you all for sharing her with us. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her. Sending all of our love to the Niemann family! XOXO, Nicole & Brent Covert

Posted by Nicole & Brent Covert - Austin, TX - Friend   January 17, 2019

Family Album