Christel was born February 23, 1949 in Reinbek, Germany, outside of Hamburg. She moved to America when she was three-years-old with her parents, Hans Wilhelm Heinrich Krauss and Meta Elise Anna Albers Krauss, and her grandmother, Ella Elsa Pien Krauss. They first settled in Hartford, Connecticut then moved to Arden, North Carolina. Christel attended T.C. Roberson High School then began her career with Bell South, then A.T. & T. She retired with them after 32 years of service. On December 30, 1976, she married Jack Barnett Caldwell of Asheville, North Carolina. They were married for 21 years. On April 30, 1978 they had a daughter, Tracy Anne Caldwell.
Christel had many loved ones and family to support her. She enjoyed spending time with her daughter and grandchildren, Christel Margaret “Maggie” Ahern and Liam Roger Ahern. She loved crosswords, all puzzle types, knitting, cross-stitching, playing guitar, eating oyster stew, paying attention to her plants and flowers, drinking her beloved coffee, painting portraits and landscapes, playing with her pets, going to the beach, fishing at the lake, drawing, and teaching her German heritage to her family. In 2008, she learned that she had developed ovarian cancer in her colon. She fought positively through five years of treatment. She passed away, in peace at home with family in hospice on Thursday, February 28, 2013, after her 64th birthday. Her wishes were to be cremated at Mackey Mortuary and her ashes were spread in the garden behind the Greenville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
A lilac bush, shipped from Holland (a birthday gift from her sister, Judy Simerly), was planted near the labyrinth and her ashes were placed at her service. She loved feeding the birds and squirrels, so feeders were placed to continue this for her. She is missed every day, and with her faith, is now with her Lord. Christel’s daughter, Tracy, is married to Will Schulze, son of long-time Fellowship members, Bill and Priscilla Schulze.