Carolyn Wagenseller


11:00 am - 11:30 am
Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Mendham Hilltop Cemetery
18 Hilltop Rd
Mendham, New Jersey, United States
(973) 543-4386

Obituary of Carolyn Ralston Wagenseller

Carolyn Wagenseller, of Mount Pleasant, SC, passed away peacefully on Monday, February 26, 2024, following a brave and heroic battle with cancer. 

Born Carolyn Ralston Nesbitt on April 17, 1941, daughter of the late Justus “Judd” P. Nesbitt and Alma Johnson Nesbitt of Mendham, NJ, she was raised in Mendham and graduated from Morristown High School in 1959.  

Carolyn attended Endicott Junior College and graduated from the Parsons School of Design in New York City in 1963, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey in 1993.

Throughout her life she made several places her home, New York City; Piscataway, New Jersey; Jupiter, Coral Gables, and Marco Island, Florida; Tucson, Arizona; Escondido, California; and most recently Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

The history of her family, early settlers in the Mendham area before the American Revolution and where areas of the town and many streets are named for the Ralston/Nesbitt families, was very important to her.  The Ralston Manor House and the general store were established by her ancestor John Ralston and are still in existence today. She spent many years researching her ancestry and donating artifacts to the local historical societies.  She was recently a member of a chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Charleston, SC. 

Carolyn was an avid traveler which began when as a college student she and a few classmates traveled all over Europe and had amazing adventures together.  She loved experiencing new places, people, cultures, history, and art.  She traveled throughout the United States, Europe, and around the world.  Her greatest regret was never getting to see the Taj Mahal.  

Many of those travels were taken with her lifelong partner and husband, Jay Wagenseller.  Jay and Carolyn were married in 1990 at the Rutgers University Chapel in New Brunswick, New Jersey.  Together they opened several retail businesses where Carolyn was able to focus on her love for interior design and style in clothes, art, and furnishings.

When she was not traveling or enjoying time sitting in European cafes, Carolyn loved visiting museums, going to the theatre, and studying history, particularly art history.  She was also a very good cook who knew good food and enjoyed trying new restaurants.   

 Above all, Carolyn was an extremely talented artist.  It is her art that she is best known for.  She dedicated her life to her passion for art and design.  She created in many mediums, including oils, watercolors, pencil drawings, jewelry, textiles, mosaics, and photography.  She would create beauty out of anything, and the world is a more beautiful place because of her.  Her beauty will live on through the extraordinary pieces she created and that are displayed by those fortunate to own them.  

Carolyn was a true beauty, inside and out.  She had a zest for life and was always the life of the party.  Her smile and infectious laughter brightened the room and drew everyone to her.   She lived more in her years than most people will ever experience. 

She is survived by her loving husband of thirty-four years Jay Wagenseller; her stepsons Brian and Jason Wagenseller, her stepson Kenneth Levin and many close friends, whom she has known since childhood.

Funeral and burial services will be held at Hilltop Cemetery in Mendham, New Jersey on April 17, 2024 at 11am. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations are made to the Ralston General Store Museum or the Ralston Cider Mill Museum in Mendham, New Jersey. 

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