Carol Delaney

Carol Delaney's breast cancer diagnosis, a week before Thanksgiving 12 years ago, devastated her family but did nothing to dim her positive attitude or engaging manner.

"She pulled us all through it," said her daughter, Shannen Dettmann of San Francisco. "She just kept moving forward."

Delaney's cancer spread to her bones, and she died in her sleep at her Occidental home on Dec. 20, two days after her 70th birthday.

Told that her hair would probably fall out as a result of chemotherapy, Delaney shrugged off the prospect, saying her hair would probably grow back curly, the style she had always wanted.

And so it did, Dettmann said.

In her illness Delaney remained just as she had been in health, a caring, good-natured person who expressed more interest in others than in her own condition.

"She had this aura about her," Dettmann said. "People were drawn to her."

Marylu Downing, an Occidental area artist, said her longtime friend and former neighbor was "a lovely person ... with a sense of humor and a great love for cooking and for her friends and family."

Delaney worked as a part-time instructor in Santa Rosa Junior College's work experience program and helped Downing get a job in the same department.

"She inspired me to look for the daily good in life," Downing said, recalling her friend's prowess as a shopper who found bargain clothing and loaned her wardrobe to friends.

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