Westerhoff, Caroline


Caroline Askew Westerhoff died peacefully on October 19, 2022 at her home in Atlanta, Georgia. Devoted, loving, and steadfast, she was eighty-two years old and ready to join her loved ones in Heaven. Her second husband, John Westerhoff, the love of her life, died just months prior to her, and Rufus Hughes, the father of her biological children, died in 2017. She was married to each for over 25 years and spoke lovingly of them both.

Caroline was born in Atlanta on April 7, 1940, to Nancy and Benjamin Askew. She was born smart to smart parents. An academic achiever she graduated valedictorian from high school and Agnes Scott College. With these achievements, membership in the academic honor society Phi Beta Kappa and entry into a master's program in Biology at Emory University followed. She successfully defended her master's thesis in 1964, the only woman in her program, while pregnant with her first child, David. She briefly started a Ph.D program but chose to focus on family and faith instead.

Professionally, Caroline found her passion working for the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta as Canon for Congregational Life and Ministry, during which time she worked for four bishops, becoming close friends with Judson Child and Frank Allan. Following her time with the diocese, she worked for the Alban Institute as a Senior Consultant, lectured in the School of Theology at Sewanee: University of the South, and joined the College of Preachers at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. She published numerous books and essays, led spiritual education retreats, and preached.

Curiosity, challenge, and, at times, conflict fueled Caroline's passion for faith, peace, and reconciliation. Caroline succeeded professionally in male dominated environments because she was intelligent, principled, motivated, creative, and did not see her gender as an obstacle. Adept at communication and boundary keeping, good fences as she would write, Caroline broke generational cycles professionally and within her family. She was a fierce defender of her loved ones and their greatest champion.

She is survived by her children. David, J., Jill, Jack, and Beth; and grandchildren, Charlie, Camille, Nathan, Abram, Tyler, Amy, Jason, and Daniel. A celebration of life is scheduled for 1:00 PM, December 3, 2022, at Saint Anne's Episcopal Church in Atlanta, GA, followed by a memorial garden interment and reception. In Caroline's honour, please consider a donation to the Episcopal Relief and Development Fund.