Caroline Appling

1933 - 2016 Obituary Condolences

Caroline Appling Mar. 10, 1933 - Jul. 14, 2016
Resident of Morgan Hill, CA

Caroline McKenzie Appling passed away on July 14th, 2016, after an 18-month battle with ovarian cancer. Caroline was born in San Jose on March 10th, 1933, the second child of John R. McKenzie and Elizabeth M. Voss McKenzie, and spent her childhood and young adulthood living on the family farm in Los Altos on the territory of what is now known as McKenzie Park. Many of her earliest memories revolved around picking fruit in the orchards of the extended McKenzie and Voss clans in "The Valley of Heart's Delight," as Silicon Valley was then known.

Caroline attended Los Altos Elementary School and San Jose's Notre Dame High School, Class of 1950. She received her BA and teaching credential from San Jose State University in 1954 and taught elementary school for nine years in Saratoga, where she forged several of her most cherished life-long friendships. Seeking a fresh challenge, in 1963 Caroline decided to spend a year teaching in a military dependent school in Gelnhausen, Gemany, where she met the love of her life, a young US Army officer, David A. Appling, whom she married in 1964.

Although she continued to teach part-time for a number of years, Caroline directed most of her energies after her marriage into the full-time job of raising her two sons and being a homemaker. Coping with the peripatetic demands of her husband's military career, she spent many years in Maryland, Virginia, California, Michigan and New Jersey, before returning to California for good and settling in Morgan Hill upon David's retirement from the US Army as a colonel in 1983.

Caroline will be remembered, first and foremost, by all who knew her, as someone who loved conversation and loved to laugh. (So-and-so "makes me laugh" was her highest form of praise.) Friends and relatives will remember her for her empathy—her ability to remember birthdays and graduations, her genuine interest in the minutiae of others' lives, her compassion—and for her keen observations and acerbic sense of humor, which she maintained until almost the very end. Caroline also enjoyed traveling, gardening, Bible-study, experimenting in the kitchen, and spending time with her grandchildren.
Caroline was predeceased by her husband of 51 years, David, in 2015. She is survived by her son John Appling of Morgan Hill, son Tom Appling (Wendy) and grandchildren McKenzie, Owen, and Bekah Appling of Yorkville, IL, and her younger brother Thomas McKenzie (Lillian) of Shertz, TX. In keeping with her favorite saint, St. Francis of Assisi, she wished her final sentiment to the world to be "Peace to all."

Caroline's life will be celebrated in a memorial mass at St. Catherine's in Morgan Hill on Saturday, July 23, at 10:00 followed by an interment at Gate of Heaven in Los Altos at noon, to both of which all are welcome. Donations in her name can be made to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund ( or the Sister Anna Voss Memorial Fund at Point Lobos, one of her favorite California locales (

View the online memorial for Caroline Appling

Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on July 20, 2016