Strang Center receives estate gift from longtime volunteer

Tracy Haun OwensFarragut, Feature

The late Carolyn S. Carver was one of the original volunteers at West Knox County’s Frank R. Strang Senior Center when it opened in 1998. She originally helped out as a receptionist, before there was a full-time staff, and she helped form the Spanish Club, the Book Club, the Grub Club and the lending library at the center. In her estate planning, she found another way of giving back, leaving the center a gift of up to $130,000 in her will.

Knox County Commissioner John Schoonmaker, who represents the Farragut area, shepherded through a resolution for the County Commission to approve the gift last month. Schoonmaker says that when he and others were told that there was such a large donation from the estate, they were overwhelmed with gratitude and surprise.

“I think she enjoyed her time there, and this was her way of saying thanks,” Schoonmaker says.

Strang Center coordinator Lauren Monahan says Carver was seen there almost every day until she fell ill, helping out and enjoying Scrabble and canasta.

Monahan says, “Carolyn was a strong supporter of activities at the center. She made many contributions, often shopping and donating sorely needed supplies.”

Activities at the center are popular, and Schoonmaker says the facility itself has experienced growing pains. The center, at 109 Lovell Heights Road, is housed in a former library branch. Parking is tight. When Schoonmaker joined the commission in 2015, he made finding a new facility for the Strang Center a priority, garnering support from Mayor Burchett for his goal. When the move is made, it is likely that the funds from Carver’s estate will be used at the new location.

Schoonmaker says he has looked at facilities all over Southwest Knox County and thanks the center staff for their patience. Although he can’t give any more specifics, he says that within the next couple of months he hopes to propose an available location within the town of Farragut.

“I think the seniors will be happy that we kept our promise,” he says.

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