Caroline E. Bragdon Junkala
Caroline E. Bragdon Junkala moved to her Lord’s side on July 15, 2020, while sleeping at Maplewood Nursing Home in Westmoreland.
Caroline was born in Temple on Aug. 5, 1935, daughter of Harvey and Vera (Draper) Paige. She spent time as a child in Temple, Greenfield and Lyndeborough, eventually spending her teen years in Milford and graduating from Milford High School in 1953. She married Orson H. Bragdon Jr., in Milford on Feb. 21, 1954.
Caroline loved children and carried seven of her own into this world. While raising her own children, she and Orson (Jay) also cared for, and/or helped raise, dozens of children through the state’s foster parent system. She provided babysitting services for upwards of 20 kids. In the mid-1960s, realizing that there was limited access to kindergarten for her own kids, she decided to open RM Kindergarten — later to become Souhegan Valley Christian Kindergarten. Jay took an attached barn and remodeled it into a very nice teaching room and Caroline hired teachers and staff to provide a new learning facility in town. By the early 1970s, the house at 3 Cottage St. was a beehive of activity after school on any given day. To keep all the kids active, she ran a Good News Club weekly and required her children to learn various musical instruments.
Though Caroline had worked at various jobs in her life, she enjoyed cutting hair the most. The kitchen was her salon, where she provided permanents to women, where she had her own hooded hair dryer for her customers to sit under — though calling them customers would be misleading. They were all her friends. Somehow, she managed to cut hair, control a couple dozen or so kids running around the house and/or in the backyard, and have supper ready every day.
In the mid-to-late ’70s, Jay opened a locksmith business and Caroline became a certified locksmith and a master at re-keying commercial locks. When someone needed five or 10 locks in one building, each needing separate keys but still having a master key for the entire facility, Caroline had the innate mathematical capability to handle the “numbers game” that was part of locksmithing. She would work the pins, cut the keys, and hand them all to Jay for installation. They made a good team and the Bragdon Lockshop business thrived. Both Jay and Caroline spent time as members of the N.H. Locksmith Association.
Following Orson’s death in 1995, Caroline married George Junkala in 1996 and spent her remaining years with George. They “downsized” and moved to Lyndeborough, and bought an RV trailer so they could travel and visit the various children and relatives who lived around the U.S. Eventually, they moved to Keene to live with George’s daughter, Laura Tharpe. Sadly, Caroline began to suffer from dementia and, last year, was moved to Maplewood Nursing Home in Westmoreland. George soon joined her there, but he passed away on Feb. 25 of this year.
Caroline was predeceased by her sister, Thelma Bouchard, of New Boston. She is survived by four siblings: sisters Erma McNeil and Sylvia Sapienza, of Florida; and Frances Bailey Bernard of New Hampshire; and a brother, Clarence Paige, of Francestown. She is also survived by her seven children: Robert and Barbara Bragdon of Wilton; Richard and Cheryl Bragdon of Raleigh, N.C.; Marcia and Craig Powers of Amherst; Randall and Lucia Bragdon of Claremont; Mary and Jonathan Fox of Albuquerque, N.M.; Maureen and David Sorensen of Ada, Ohio; and Mayna Bragdon of Brooklyn, N.Y. As you might guess, there are many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, too.
Calling hours will be Tuesday, July 21, 2020, from 1 to 2 p.m. at Colonial Hills Baptist Church, 54 Melendy Road, Milford. Physical distancing and masks will be required. Caroline will be buried at the Meadow View Cemetery in Amherst at the Bragdon family plot. Caroline was a zealous Christian and will have no problem passing security at the Golden Gates. Please pass your condolences to the family through Fletcher Funeral Home at www.FletcherFuneralHome.com.
In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be mailed to Maplewood Nursing Home, 201 River Road, Westmoreland, NH 03467, designated for Maplewood Activities, Maplewood Association or Maplewood Employee Association. Also, donations may be made in Caroline’s name to Maranatha Ministries, 140 Merrymeeting Road, New Durham, NH 03855.