Carol Brindley Konagamitsu

Honored by:Tom Brindley and William Brindley
Brick location:K:24  map

A Tribute to Our Sister

Carol Esther Brindley was born in Moscow, Idaho on March 13, 1941 to Tom Albert and LaVerna Carol Brindley. As a baby she acquired the nickname “Jeep” as she seemed to crawl over, around, and through everything. The nickname faded but the determination remained; in later years became “Great Aunt Carol” or simply “GAC.” The family enjoyed Moscow, Idaho but professional opportunities drew them back to Iowa, where her parents grew up. Carol was in the fifth grade and had a very brief experience in the Lanyon School, her Mother’s alma mater. The family settled in Ames, Iowa on an acreage that provided a natural setting and play area.

Educated by the Ames Public Schools, Carol graduated from Ames High School in 1959. Applied Art was what she chose as a major at Iowa State University, graduating in 1963. Upon graduation, she accepted a position with American Airlines in New York City. The work of a reservation clerk was unfulfilling and she returned to Iowa State and completed a Master’s degree in Child Development in 1966. Carol accepted a position as a pre-school teacher with the John Dewey Laboratory School on the University of Chicago campus. She spent 42 years with the school, retiring in 2008.

A characteristic picture of her is one taken in front of a clump of snap dragons, as a young girl, holding a garter snake by the tail. She was wearing some old overalls with her leg protruding from a hole worn in the knee. It seemed to reflect her personality; beauty and sensitivity, in a casual and independent style.

Carol is a patient person with a deep sense of conviction, and speaks with authority. She is respected by family, friends, students, and co-workers. Beverly Biggs, Principal, describes Carol’s teaching: “Carol brought skill, dedication and integrity to the work of educating and nurturing young children. Her organization and planning reflected the talents and training of an artist with an eye for detail and a passion for creating an engaging learning space. Her classroom was one that fostered and sustained the natural curiosity young children bring to the learning process. As one passed her classroom there was always the quiet buzz of students deeply engaged in learning.”

She met Kiko Konagamitsu, a technician at S & C Electric, and Carol would say of him, "He had a smile that people don't forget." Kiko was a veteran of World War II, having served with 442nd Regimental Combat Team. They spent 25 years together gathering a community of friends through their respective careers and involvement in the Old Town School of Folk Music. They had many pets over the years, including a dog named Dogeo, cats named Kuro-Nekru, Mo-Ming, and Shoelaces, and Daisy the turtle, who wintered in Carol’s classroom and summered in her backyard. Kiko passed away July 24, 1999.

Carol has two brothers, William Arthur (1938), a Professor retired from Utah State University in Logan, Utah, and Thomas John, a Controller retired from Alpena Community College, Alpena, Michigan. Together we honor Carol as “Great Sister.”