Carole was born in Montevideo, Minnesota and moved to Bakersfield in 1954 at the age of 16 after reuniting with her eldest brother Jerry. She worked for more than 30 years at Bill Lee’s Bamboo Chopsticks where she was known for her friendliness and engaging smile.
Carole is survived by her children, Kim Lambert (Kirk Lambert) and Kelly Ryan; Grandchildren, Cristy Nelson, Elijah Nelson, Sam Olinger, Natalie Lambert, Gene Lambert; Great Grandchildren, Gwen Nelson, Lilli Nelson, Luci Nelson, and Julian Olinger; and her brother, Gerhard “Jerry” Van Heel. She was preceded in death by her daughter, Theresa Rose O’Reilly, and younger siblings, Barbara Ellis and James Van Heel.
Carole was loved by her family and many friends. She was always a generous, giving woman, her home was always open, and she so enjoyed having a house full of people for Thanksgiving. One year, while still working at Bill Lee’s Bamboo Chopsticks, she opened her home to Viet Nam refugees, and others with no family, for the holiday feast.
Following her career with Bill Lee’s, she went on to making beautiful cakes and delicious desserts and candies. Her grandchildren always loved going to grandma’s house. They made gingerbread houses, decorated cookies and cakes, and loved it all. After an injury to her back, Carole went on to further her education in office and business skills, and for more than 30 years, she was an office manager for her best friend and constant companion Ernest at Ugo Antongiovanni Farms.
Carole loved the Lord Jesus Christ with her whole heart and was a devout Catholic and a parishioner at Saint Francis Roman Catholic Church. She will be truly missed by her family and friends and will be forever remembered and loved.