Carolina Genoveva Teresita Escobar Tabera Carillo died in Guadalajara, April 16, Easter Sunday, in the arms of her husband Dan Turnquist.
Escobar was born in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, on August 3, 1939, the first child of Soledad Carillo and Ramon Escobar, a Highway Department engineer.
When she was six months old, her father was sent to build the Panamerican Highway between Oaxaca and Guatemala. Escobar spent her early years living in tents in construction camps. Workers brought her pets they found in the jungle, including a baby jaguar. The Chinese cook gave her a meat cleaver she used her entire life.
When she was six, siblings began arriving and her family moved to Oaxaca, where schools were available. In Oaxaca, she went to a secondary school run by a Canadian named “Teacher Carleton.”
When she was 15, her father transferred to Guadalajara, where she studied interior decorating under the legendary Madre Pilar and learned drafting, a skill she utilized with the Planning Commission and Highway Department. She drew numbers for a new runway at the Guadalajara Airport, which had to be distorted on the ground so they would look right to a pilot.
When she met her future husband she was working at the med school library at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara (UAG). She later became the main library technical director and switched it from the Dewey Decimal system to the Library of Congress system. She had 15 people under her direction but was unhappy because the UAG had promised to send her to the University of Denver for a master’s in Library Science but backed out, saying she was very successful at her current job.
Turnquist was transferred to the U.S. embassy in Guatemala and then to Managua. Carolina and Dan continued to visit. She arrived in Managua less than 12 hours before the December, 1972 earthquake. Turnquist’s house collapsed on them but they survived, although she carried a scar for the rest of her life. Her husband was then assigned to Harvard and they decided to get married.
Escobar accompanied Dan on assignments to Europe, including Brussels, where he worked in the E.U. Mission, and to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he was Diplomat in Residence. During this period Escobar taught Spanish to people in the diplomatic circle. Her stint at the UAG teaching arts of the Renaissance was of benefit when visiting cathedrals in Europe.
Turnquist retired in 2001 and they began splitting their time between Centennial, Wyoming, and Guadalajara in the winter.
Escobar loved animals and in Centennial she fed squirrels, hummingbirds and an occasional bear, jaguar, deer, or moose. She was an expert cook and many people enjoyed dinners at her house. She was an expert seamstress, having learned from her grandmother, and loved to read in five languages, collect mushrooms, and look at wildlife. She was knowledgable about plants.
Escobar was a talented artist but shy about exhibiting. When a neighbor found her watercolors of squirrels, and framed and exhibited them in a show at the Centennial Museum, she was the first artist to sell out.
She was a wonderful companion to her husband and is survived by him, her brother Ramon, sister Cecilia and 22 nieces and nephews.