Lois Hanorah Carnes (née Zeplin) passed away peacefully in her home, surrounded by her loving family, on November 17, 2018.
A funeral Mass of the Resurrection will be held at St. Charles Church, 880 Tamarack Ave., San Carlos, Calif., at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1. A reception will follow at the family home, and interment at Santa Clara Mission Cemetery, 490 Lincoln Street, Santa Clara, Calif., later that afternoon.
Lois will be remembered on Friday, Nov. 30, with a visitation at 6:00 p.m. and a Rosary at 7:00 p.m. at Crippen & Flynn Carlmont Chapel, 1111 Alameda de las Pulgas, Belmont, Calif.
Lois was born in the small town of Ainsworth on Feb. 15, 1940, and raised in Lexington, the sixth daughter of Nora S. (Murphy) Zeplin and John Zeplin. After losing her father when she was five years old in an airplane accident, she and her siblings were raised by their courageous mother, and each learned to contribute to making the household run.
Lois was gifted with amazing creativity, a ready laugh, and a constantly welcoming presence. At Lexington High School, she stood out for her leadership and artistic talents, participating in Glee Club, Pep Club, and Girls State, and serving as Junior Class President and Senior Class Vice President. She was chosen for the Honor Society and selected to receive a scholarship to Kansas City Art Academy (which she had to decline due to her family’s limited resources). She was even elected Homecoming Queen!
At the heart of Lois’ life was her religious faith. A lifelong Catholic, she followed her sense of vocation to a year as a postulant and novice with the Sisters of St. Francis in Clinton, Iowa, and she remained forever marked by that experience of prayer, silence, and a reverence for God, creation, and each person she met. Indeed, it was precisely in her religious experience that she discovered her call to venture far from home -- to California -- and to cultivate a life of generous service grounded in family life and her faith community.
Thus it was that Lois moved to San Mateo County in April 1963, working as a secretary for Minnesota Mining, and living with her elder sister, Kathy, as “career women.” Later, she would move on to work at United Air Lines, where a friend set her up on a date with Edward Carnes, whom she would eventually marry in 1967. They bought their home in San Carlos in 1969, and it served as the base for her activities for the rest of her life. From that time on, Lois poured her energy into the raising of her sons, Matt and Jim. In her free time, she was a linchpin volunteer at St. Charles Catholic Church and the White Oaks School and Central School communities in San Carlos.
Lois had an uncanny knack for finding people who were in the midst of challenging or vulnerable moments, and providing them with the welcome, support, and encouragement they needed. Individuals from church who were suffering loss; family members or friends who were grappling with relationships or depression; young people who felt excluded or were trying to find their way; elderly people who needed a ride to church or shopping or an appointment -- these became her people. With a never-empty pot of coffee, or a cigarette for those who smoked, she made them feel at home and completely accepted.
When Lois fell ill with cancer in 2014, she accepted it with a sense of calm and peace. She knew that she had lived life fully and well, and her faith gave her a profound sense that what lay ahead was even better than what she had known thus far. She beat the odds, outliving her initial diagnosis by years, and she was grateful for each day. From her couch, phone in hand, she continued to support, counsel, pray, and love right up to the end.
Lois is survived by her devoted husband of 51 years, Edward A. Carnes, and her sons, Rev. Matthew Carnes, S.J., of Washington, D. C., and James Carnes, of San Carlos, Calif., as well as by three of her siblings, Mary Ann Englert, of Redding, Calif., Katherine Ramsey, of Tucson, Ariz., and Patricia Zeplin, of Durango, Colo.
She was preceded in death by her sisters Jeanne and Maureen Zeplin and her brother James Zeplin.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Kino Border Initiative, PO Box 159, Nogales, AZ 85628-0159, https://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/give.