Carolyn Bryant Sifford, the only child of Mamie Ruth Andrews (Benjamin), was born on September 10, 1941 and was raised in an extended family home overseen by the Bryant matriarch Mrs. Beatrice Bryant, affectionately known as Ms. Bea, whom Carolyn adored.
Carolyn peacefully transitioned on Sunday, February 7, 2021 under the care of the Genesis Franklin Woods Rehabilitation Center after a short hospitalization in St. Joseph Medical Center.
She was educated in the Baltimore City Public Schools and graduated from Frederick Douglas High School in June of 1960.
After graduation, she and her high school sweetheart, James Franklin Sifford (Jimmy), were married and began their life-long journey together. From their union three children were born: Sharon Monet, Franklin David, and Kellye Lynette.
Most black families who were working in the 1960’s relied on two paychecks to make ends meet. The young Siffords stepped out on faith and personal conviction to afford their children a stay-at-home mom while Jimmy worked multiple jobs to make this a reality. As her own children grew, Carolyn recognized the need of other children in the family and in the community to have a safe place for their children while their parents worked. She believed in taking action and making a difference rather than just “flapping your gums,” so she opened her home for daycare, giving many children a head start in growth and education. These children, who are thriving adults today, knew very early that Mrs. Sifford “didn’t play” and there was ALWAYS something good to eat at her house.
In later years as her children entered college, Carolyn entered the workplace and held positions at several local banking institutions before retiring from Bank of America. She truly enjoyed working and regularly baked for all her coworkers. Even after retiring, many could be found leaving her home with an assortment of cakes, pies and other delicious dishes.
Carolyn enjoyed the simple life. Being at her home, sitting on her porch talking to her neighbors and waving to passing cars, watching sports, and working in the yard gave her great joy. She loved to party and especially loved the parties at Disco '75, the family hang-out for many years that guaranteed great food and fun for neighbors, friends, and loved ones almost every weekend. She also loved the luncheons with her best friend, Barbara Greene, and their teacher friends; and she cherished her friendship with longtime friend, Florine Smith, among others. Shopping on QVC and HSN, she stayed up many nights watching and ordering the best deals and steals for her family and especially her grandchildren. Catalogues would always cover the coffee table and her attic was a testimony to her shopping adventures. Carolyn was a prankster and believed in speaking her mind, purposely going against the grain of what most people thought or said. She would laugh at the shocked expressions on faces upon hearing her point of view on so many things. She loved being “out of the box” in attitudes and opinions. You can only imagine the conversations she held with the Jehovah Witnesses who came faithfully to her home 2-3 times a week later in life! They laughed with her and always left with some type of food, bottles of water or a 2-liter bottle of orange soda straight from Woodmoor Shopping Center.
Most of all, Carolyn (affectionately called Granny) was a loving mother and an awesome grandmother. There were never any restraints when it came to her babies. She adored them, she counseled them, and she provided for them. Granny was always involved in their activities and applauded every achievement. Every Sifford grandchild was very clear that “Sifford children were to fill the room with oratory.” She was the happiest when spending quality time with any one of them but especially when all her grandchildren were together.
Although not one to attend church regularly, caring for people and feeding the hungry was her ministry, and it was how she displayed her faith. Anyone who has met Carolyn knows that she was at her best when cooking and baking. Her children had daily home-cooked breakfasts and dinners, and she was known to enter the school cafeteria with a piping hot lunch at the exact moment they entered the cafeteria. She was known all over the city for her culinary gifting and showed her love for family and friends by cooking for them almost daily. Tupperware full of her delicious dishes were transported out of the house frequently. Who can even attempt to count the meals, cakes, and pies that came out of 3514? Who ever heard of burning out stoves from cooking? Well, she did! She gave tangible love through her food. The kitchen was her sacred place and fortunate were those who were able to experience the cooking and baking from her loving hands.
Carolyn is preceded in death by her husband Jimmy and leaves to cherish fond memories and smiles: her loving children, Sharon Monet (Calvin), Franklin David (Lisa) and Kellye Lynette (Steve); eight grandchildren, Jessica, Chipper, Alexis, Lauren, Sydney, DJ, Chloe, and Emory; two sisters-in-law, Ruby and Francine (Tyrone); uncles, Marvin Bryant (Emma) and Jerome Bryant; cousin, Elaine Edwards (Charles); nieces, Jocelyn and Jennifer (Jamaal); god-daughter, Melody Greene; many cousins, great nieces and nephews; and a host of loving relatives, supportive friends and long-time caring neighbors of the Woodmoor community.
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