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A woman with 9 lives left this world last week.

Jolene Klingaman was a fighter. She went from lung cancer to heart disease, to broken bones, pneumonia and a slew of health issues over the past 20 years, but came through them with a smile on her face and a gleam in her eye. She finally gave up the fight last week, and died peacefully at hospice care.

Jolene was one in a million. I don’t think I had another friend quite like her. The first time I met her she dramatically fell to the floor in honor of getting to meet “the great Janet Carson”! I wasn’t quite sure how to take that. But over the years, I spent a great deal of time with Jolene, and she always made me laugh. She had a heart of gold and would go above and beyond to make you feel at home.

I would stay with the Klingamans

when I spent the night in Fayetteville, and Jolene and I would stay up all hours talking. She was a news fanatic, and could give you chapter and verse on any current event that was happening. There were a few special events that really captured her attention—particularly the death of Princess Diana and the trial of O.J. Simpson. She could have written volumes about both. Her health limited her activities, but it didn’t stop her mind and she soaked everything up and was more than happy to share. Besides having CNN on 24/7, she read a slew of magazines and was always more up to date than anyone I knew. She was also a shopper who loved clothes and decorating, and thankfully could continue to shop from the comfort of her chair.

Before her illness, she did like to travel, and her favorite place in the world (besides Fayetteville) was Maui, Hawaii. She loved Hawaii and would travel there as often as possible, sometimes staying several weeks. I was honored to get to share a week with her and her daughter one year and we had a fabulous time.

We drove the road to Hana with a personal chauffer, went to a luau and explored the island. It was a trip to remember.

She leaves behind a host of family and friends. My good friend and her husband Gerald, was a devoted caregiver to Jolene. She could not have had a better partner by her side.

There will never be another Jolene, but I am so glad I got to call her friend! Here is a link to a wonderful obituary that Gerald wrote:

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