Cover photo for Carolyn (Kelly) Trainor's Obituary
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1947 Carolyn (Kelly) 2024

Carolyn (Kelly) Trainor

December 22, 1947 — April 21, 2024

On the morning of April 21, 2024, Kelly passed away at Methodist Hospital in Rochester, MN, after a 16 month battle with cancer. Kelly was 76 years old.

Kelly Trainor was born Carolyn Jean Laufenburger in Winona, MN on December 22, 1947. Her childhood home was Lewiston, MN. She graduated from Winona State University in 1970 with a degree in psychology.

June 14, 1969, Kelly Laufenburger was married to Douglas Trainor who was to become her best friend and soulmate. Together, they raised two sons, Casey and Corey.

Believing she could personally provide the best care for her growing boys, Kelly gave up a potential career to be a 'stay at home mom'. Of course she was a good one. As the boys grew older she did volunteer work and worked as a book sales rep, which she was well suited for due to her love for reading.

Kelly had a love for antiques and collectables of all kinds and became an expert in researching and assessing their value. Kelly leveraged her lifelong passion for collectable things to tastefully decorate her home with lovely and interesting pieces. There were never enough empty wall spaces or open shelves to hold her prized possessions. Turning her interest and hobby into a financial venture she earned a considerable profit buying and selling old and interesting things.

Kelly's beautiful smile and infectious personality will be remembered with love by those who knew her well, and fondly by those whose lives she touched only briefly along her journey. Kelly had a unique and genuine way of interacting with everyone she met. People loved her. She easily engaged with strangers, no matter who they were, and often made their day just a little better for having met Kelly. Even on her worst days she had a smile for everyone she met. Kelly was all about doing her part to make the world a better place.

Kelly loved life. She loved adventure and new experiences. She and her husband Doug enjoyed hiking and long walks. They roller-bladed many miles together. The excitement and adventure of motorcycle riding became a shared passion for a number of years, to be replaced by the more conservative and safer 'wind in your hair' experience of a fun 2-seater convertible. During retirement Kelly and Doug traveled throughout the west, logging close to 200,000 miles in their minivan, often purposely taking the road less traveled. The joy and excitement that Kelly felt and displayed never faded. She could find joy in even the simplest of things. It was a privilege to experience through Kelly's senses, the beauty and majesty of snow capped mountains, the awe inspiring sight and sound of the surf crashing on a beach, the solitude of the giant redwoods, the raw beauty of the high desert, a beautiful sunset. Kelly's beauty and joyful spirit shone the brightest during these times. Seems she never quit smiling.

Kelly loved music. She loved to read. She was a fan of Britbox Murder Mysteries, as long as there were subtitles. She liked board games. She played them well, but when the hours got late and she was overtired she was likely to make a head scratching move that was far outside the rules of the game and defied common sense. She could laugh with others. She could laugh at herself. It was endearing. She liked jigsaw puzzles, as long as the pieces were not too small. She liked crossword puzzles. But she disliked logic puzzles with a passion. She did impressions. She was not very good but sometimes she would nail it. She did a pretty fair Bob Dillon. She was so much fun.

Kelly was beautiful, loving, smart, kind, thoughtful, selfless, and fun. She was a lot of things, but she was not much of an athlete. Physical coordination was not her thing. In high school, unable to keep step while marching, she frustrated her band instructor who had to keep shouting "left Laufenburger, left". In college she managed to lose control of a golf club during a physical ed class and deposited it on a second story window ledge. If you were in her general vicinity when she chose to throw a ball or any other missile you had better duck and cover your head. You never knew where it was going.

Kelly is predeceased by her parents, Roger and Selma, and her sister Kay. Her first born and beloved son Casey preceded her in death in January 2020.. She is survived by her husband Doug, her son Corey, her step daughter Leslie Bronk, her daughter-in-law Arleigh Trainor, her grandchildren Alexandra, Ashley, Brittany, 4 lovely great grandchildren, her brother Bruce, her sister Dawn, her cousins, and a great group of nieces and nephews and their families.

Kelly displayed incredible strength, courage and grace as she battled a cruel disease. She appreciated the excellent care that she received from the Mayo medical teams. She felt they were right there in the battle with her. Her family is grateful for their skills and perhaps even more for their compassion.

A celebration of a life well lived will be planned to allow those who knew Kelly best to share memories.

Kelly never lost that sense of wonder!

Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Trainor family. To share a special memory or condolence, please visit www.ranfranzandvinefh.com.

To order memorial trees in memory of Carolyn (Kelly) Trainor, please visit our tree store.

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