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Female Running Pioneer Lyn Carman Has Passed Away

Marilyn (Lyn) Joyce Carman died peacefully in her sleep on June 17, 2014 at age 77, due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). Lyn and her husband Bob moved to Santa Barbara in 1966 and they influenced the lives of many people in the Santa Barbara community. Lyn taught math at La Colina Jr. High School for over 20 years and initiated the first class in computer programming in the Santa Barbara school district. La Colina didn’t have a single computer at the time, so she arranged with SBCC to allow weekly visits to enable her students to test their programs on the SBCC computer. In later years, Lyn initiated and directed the Program for Gifted Students for the Santa Barbara school district.

Lyn also organized and coached the first girls’ track team at La Colina Jr. High, and was a co-organizer of the Santa Barbara Sandpipers girls’ track club. Yet somehow she also found time for her own fitness: Lyn was the third American woman to finish a marathon, and the first woman to finish the Santa Barbara marathon, in 1966. In her first marathon attempt, in 1963, race officials at the Western Hemisphere Marathon (then called the Culver City Marathon) tried to drag Lyn and her running companion off the course. Lyn yelled: “I have the right to use public streets for running!”The Amateur Athletic Association’s ban on women’s rights to run marathons was finally rescinded in 1972, thanks largely to the brave efforts of Lyn and her co-conspirators.

In addition to her teaching, coaching, and running, Lyn co-authored several math books with her husband Bob, and aided him during the production of many other books.

In the early 1980s, Lyn and Bob joined the Santa Barbara Parish at Mission Santa Barbara and became very active participants. Lyn was a docent at the Mission for many years, and was a Eucharistic Minister at Cottage Hospital until her illness overtook her usual endless energy.

Lyn was born in Fort Madison, Iowa on December 31, 1936. She attended high school in Maryland, and college at Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie-Mellon University). Although she wanted to study math, her parents considered this unladylike and forced her to study home economics instead. Against the wishes of her parents, she married Bob at age 18. Lyn’s first child was born at the start of her final year of college, but she still managed to graduate with her class.

Lyn’s husband Bob died in 2010, shortly after their 56th wedding anniversary. Lyn is survived by her four children: Patricia, Laurie, Maire and Eric, and nine grandchildren, all of whom will miss her terribly.

The funeral Mass for Lyn Carman will take place in the church at Old Mission Santa Barbara on Wednesday June 25, at 10:00 AM. All are welcome. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Poor Clare Nuns of Santa Barbara.

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