Carole Lea Drumm

Born: 11/20/1956 Passed:

Carole Lea Drumm was relieved of her pain on August 28th, 2020, at 63 years young. Carole HATED being late. Which is more than likely why she had to leave this life so terribly early, and also why she’s undoubtedly PISSED OFF at her daughter for taking such a ridiculous amount of time to actually get these words together, typed, and published for others to read. However, she has always been pretty good at not holding a grudge, so hopefully she approves of this short account of her story, even though there are not enough words to fully encompass all that she was to us. This is just a brief account, showing the undying love she left behind.

A simple soul with a big heart. Loyal and trustworthy to no end. A true friend with an endless love for animals and witty comedy, extensive knowledge of and appreciation for the “good music” of the 60s and 70s, and a superhuman ability to taste food coloring. Please look over this brief account of Caroles’ time here with us. These words do little to express what she truly meant and who she was. She deserves much more…however, this is a start…

Carole’s story is firmly rooted here in Akron, Ohio, having attended Akron Public Schools throughout her formative years, and until 1974. She enjoyed sharing stories about greatly enjoyed family vacations to Geneva on the Lake, in her younger years. Carole always held a distinct love and would light up at just the mention of Cedar Point. The roller coasters she’d ride (almost) any one of ‘em, but you couldn’t get her to ride across the park on the mellow high-flying seats of the cable cars. She was very afraid of heights, but something about those coasters just gave her courage (unless her feet were dangling, then no dice.) The assortment of live musical shows was always a favorite for Carole, and of course the saloon where you could throw your peanut shells on the floor.  As a teen and young adult, she could often be found running around the streets of Barberton, if she wasn’t busy at home, or nearby at a friend’s, probably plotting or pulling a prank on her siblings.

Whenever Carole entered the work force, she did so with a smile on her face. She held several different positions within multiple area businesses over the years. She often reflected on her much-enjoyed time working pumping gas (in the days of full-service stations), making pizzas (laughing with coworkers over the abbreviations on order tickets spelling out obscenities (anything for a laugh.) Some of the other character-building positions that occupied her time included working at a uniform laundering facility (which is where she and Joanne happened to meet). As well as both, working in the warehouse and as a delivery driver for an automotive parts company – going from Akron to Marietta and the surrounding areas, daily. Construction traffic control (in all weather), local flower delivery (with her hand-picked helper), Uber driving in the Akron/Canton- Cleveland area (she almost didn’t even need GPS anymore) and a few other miscellaneous jobs, all of which Carole did with pride and dedication.  The job that evolved for her into a 20+ year career was as a commercial delivery driver. Taking her to locations both far and near, gone from home far more than not, Carole became known by many as ‘the one in the white Fed Ex van’ for quite some time.

Carole studied hard for her CDL; at a time when things weren’t yet quite as accessible as now, with current technology. She carried around a thick stack of pages as her study guide. Filled with multiple-choice quiz questions and answers about load restrictions, guidelines, and hazardous materials handling, etc.  –  she would have someone quiz her time and again, until it was all second nature. Her efforts weren’t in vain, whereas she did pass the test, and soon thereafter, she was on the road! From coast to coast, all thru the states, and even slightly beyond… navigating every unfamiliar traffic pattern she must and facing all the elements one can imagine.

One incident she wouldn’t ever forget, (even though she wanted to) took place in Northern California. With cargo in-tow, mid-delivery, Carole, all on her own, put on (and later, took off with a little assistance from kind strangers) her first and only set of tire chains. This task, followed by the hair-raising ride to follow, should’ve afforded her much more than just a little pin-on recognition of safety, but it did not. However, the important part is that she did it! (Normally this would have been one of the things she’d have Joanne do for her, had she been there, of course).  She was required by safety guideline, to carry tire chains in her van, traveling in that area. However, she had never used them, and frankly, didn’t have a clue. She was faced with a travel restriction ahead of her, on heavily-snow-covered cliff-sides, so she basically had no choice but to learn really quick…and boy was she angry about it!

Then there was the anxiety-stricken episode she faced, especially far from home, which ended up landing her a stay in a Canadian hospital. She would mention that event now and again, still with such amazement over their healthcare being free, ay.

She always greatly appreciated the opportunity, whenever it may have arisen, to stop for an impromptu visit with family in other states, anytime she may have ended up nearby.

These are just a few of the things she continued to speak of, even as time passed. Carole was pretty great at recalling the good in things… she usually kept the recollections of her driving life and life in general, very lighthearted and upbeat.

Carole has always been a people person and putting her on the road didn’t change that one bit. She met people and formed some lasting friendships with the folks she met far from home. She somehow happened to see all sorts of spiffy things built inside of the vans of other drivers and would come home talking all about this new layout or idea for something or another. Hoping of course that she wouldn’t have to ask Joanne to make that happen, in her van, but that she would just suddenly be presented with a new way to store miscellaneous things in the van, that would be eerily similar to the subject of the story she recently shared. Hmm, mysterious. Quite possibly not by accident, Carole would find certain little things like the beautiful, often ‘just because,’ greeting cards she would mail home to Joanne here and there.

As her runs allowed, she’d make it home every few weeks on average, bringing home new t-shirts or baseball ball caps from her travels, along with stories of top security clearance facilities she delivered to, late night truck stop parking lots over-run with lot lizards, the crazy names of different cities or streets she’d encountered, a story of the new friend she made who worked at one of the truck stops she frequented or who may have been a fellow CDL driver; or the puppy she bought from a man living in his car for $20. This puppy came to be their beloved pet and loyal companion (mostly Shelley’s) for the next 17 years, Sasha…aka Sasha-girl. She was the best dog. Then more recently, Tiki, the tiny grey cat Carole and Joanne found under the van one day out on the road. This was going to be Carole’s van cat and keep her company on the road but that quickly changed. They brought her home and she got comfy and that’s where she stayed. Since Carole decided to come off the road, long distance, in 2015, she and Tiki got to have much more cuddle time and they both were fine with that. She slept with Carole just about every night, and is missing her now, but thankfully she’s always loved to cuddle with Joanne, too.

Carole held an impeccable driving record throughout her professional driving career and prided herself on such. She received many awards from Fed-Ex; recognized for her excellence in safety, timeliness and preparedness. One of her favorite honors, which wasn’t even given to her due to her driving so much as just her continued patronage, was the time she won a contest at Flying-J, awarding her a special travel coffee mug, yielding a sticker that said “free coffee for a year!” Rest assured, she was certain to have that mug with her at all times from that point forward. She may have misplaced more than one blue tooth device, forgotten her phone at a truck stop or two, and locked her keys inside the van more times then we can recall, but fear not, she had that mug and she was getting her coffee.

She enjoyed board games and card games, even an arcade game or two, but word games most of all. On occasion or in spurts different games would surface and stick around here and there over the years. Sometimes boggle was the go-to, sometimes it was one of a few different card games or dice now and again. You could almost bet money that Carole had a word search book near her somewhere close, at all times. But overall, Scrabble was her favorite game, hands down. Especially against her Mom or her brother, Carole would hold nothing back in those word wars. She wasn’t only a walking dictionary, she was a linguistic kaleidoscope…but she was under cover, you see. She could challenge your word and be right nearly every time, use every one of her tiles, on a triple word score and bury you before you saw it coming! Spell any word you could throw at her, but she never really spoke using an extensive vocabulary. She was up for the challenge of a game, anytime, but had no interest in belittling or embarrassing anyone in real life.

She was absolutely a person of integrity, ruled by a strong moral compass. While her methodology, at times, was rather confusing, and her common sense may have taken a vacation day here or there, overall, Carole was pretty great, and that’s not to be denied. She was sometimes stubborn and picky and even childish … but she was ours and we’re going to miss every single bit of her forever more.

Cur-plunk… splash… gurgle gurgle…hiccup…burp… excuse me!

After over a year of struggles and frustration, getting used to being tethered to an oxygen concentrator, overcoming a heart attack and double bypass surgery, (March 2019,) Carole then became increasingly concerned with the Covid-19 pandemic, and barely left home. Her surviving loved ones can only hope that she has found true and perpetual peace, a bottomless cup of coffee, and a comfy chair.

She joined her parents, Harold and Delores (Harlin) Drumm; her brother, Donald Drumm and numerous other loved ones, dearly missed, for a reunion bash on the other side.

Carole is survived by Joanne Dumire, her partner of 30 years, whom she proclaimed, without hesitation and on many occasions to be the love of her life, and true soulmate. Without Joanne, Carole would have had to survive on a diet of restaurant meals, fast food and spoonfuls of peanut butter, no doubt. They greatly enriched one another’s lives in a multitude of ways and despite both being Scorpios, they never really stung each other too bad. Shelley Dumire, their daughter, who since the age of 8, saw every side there was to her; good, bad and indifferent. They taught one another, learned an incredible amount from each other, and learned many things together over the years, while forming a unique and unyielding bond.  Ronald (Kathleen) Drumm of Tampa, Florida; the big brother Carole admired so very much; a fellow lover of scrabble, and the source of her faith. Karen (Jerry) McDonald; the big sister (and brother in-law) she always seemed to want to take care of (or offer Joanne to do just that, whenever needed) and absolutely one of her favorite people on this planet.  Also fondly remembering Carole; many loving cousins, several nieces and nephews – near and far; additional family and extended-family members; and a slew of friends from coast to coast. Every one of which she genuinely loved and appreciated for the unique individuals they each are.

There will be a proper celebration of life to be announced at a later date. Meanwhile, think of Carole and please let those thoughts put a smile on your face.


6 Tributes to Carole Lea Drumm

  1. Barbara Lanni says:

    Shelley what a beautiful tribute, my heart and prayers are with you and your Mom. I know how much she meant to both of you.. She will never be forgotten as she will live on in your memories and more importantly in you hearts. I love you both.. and am here for you always.

    • Norma (Uphouse) Lute. says:

      I grew up with Carole we lived about 4 houses away. I remember her loving animals and when she got her dog who she named DumDum. She said she named him that because he was dumb, never listening to her. (lol). Yes she didn’t like riding the cable cars at Cedar Point. While growing up her family always made a road trip there every summer and I was always in the back seat of their station wagon going with them. When the rest of us wanted to ride them she refused so instead of taking the short cut across the park we walked. And yes she did love the coasters especially in the evening since we always closed the park the rides had less people in line and we would ride them over and over while trying to get through the park to leave. And I can believe she still loved music from the 60s. This may sound corney but her, Karen and their cousin Tonya and I would play in their basement and pretend we were the band. She would put a record on and we would sing along and play make believe instruments: a broom became a guitar, drums would be a folding table and two sticks, etc. The Monkeys were at that time her and my favorite band. Oh the memories. RIP old friend. Sorry that we drifted away after graduations and college and moving away from Hazel Place … I will always cherish the memories of all those sleepovers and playing board games and I will always remember the one time I did beat you at scrabble!

  2. Julie McDonald (Neice) says:

    There’s many memories that race through my mind. Our love for Jager! When her and Joanne taught me and Shell, a drinking game called Rumpelstiltskin. We were beyond wasted. Our vacations, to Cape Cod and South Carolina. Where at the Cape, too many stairs too count to walk down to the beach but wouldn’t change a thing. Her and Joanne, had gotten robbed and our vaca in S. Carolina came to an erupt end. Where Shelley and I witnessed, their vows to eachother. Many family members say we act and look just alike, I just take it as a compliment, because they aren’t lying. Especially the looks, jokes, but most of all the stubbornness. I love you, Aunt Carole and not a day goes by that I don’t think of you.

  3. Ron Drumm says:

    Shelley – thank you for such a great eulogy of Carole’s life! I traveled in my mind with your descriptive words through my sister’s life. Carole was a great sister who I always enjoyed being with when visiting Akron and family. Kathleen and I send our deepest sympathy to you and Joanne. Love, Ron and Kathleen Drumm

  4. Susan and John Harper says:

    A wonderful tribute to a great friend. I have known the Drumm family for over 50 years. I spent many weekends with Carole and Karen and felt like they were my second family. I have so many wonderful memories spent with her family and she will be dearly missed.

  5. Karen mcdonald says:

    Shell Bell thank you for your Kind words for carole she will be missed so much my heart ???? aces every day I wish I could call her one more time and hear her voice but I will see her in my dreams so many memories ???? l know her love for Joanne and you was her world never forget that ever love you sis ????????

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