BoatUS Creative Services Director
BoatUS has lost a creative, shining star. Carla Shamblen passed away on Saturday, July 21, 2012 resting comfortably at home surrounded by love, prayers and family. Our hearts are breaking, but like others who have gone before her, cancer did not define our dear Carla. She was so much more – brilliant artist, mother, wife, sister, daughter, mentor and friend.
Carla graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 1985 majoring in Visual Communications and Applied Technology. She was the perfect addition to the BoatUS Creative Services team in June of 1992 where she began what would become a 20-year effort to produce the exquisite design work that is her legacy here. She became the department director in July of 2005 demonstrating her amazing capacity as a manager to listen, coach and develop the individual strengths in her team. Working with our Public Affairs department, Carla also played an instrumental role in re-designing and continuing to refine BoatUS Magazine into the award-winning boating publication it has become.
Carla had a wonderful and playful sense of humor and loved to make people laugh. Growing up as the eldest child of Carl and Bunny Zandi in Bradford, PA, her large Italian family was warm and welcoming whenever friends accompanied her "up north" – whether it was to her father's fishing camp or to the annual Italian Festival. A batch of the family meatballs and sauce was always the most coveted item in the holiday pirate gift exchange in Creative Services. When her son Nick was born in 1997, he became a son to many in her BoatUS family and we took delight in watching him become the young man he is today.
Yet another BoatUS love story developed when her close friendship with Doug Shamblen took a shift during the holidays of 2001. They fell in love and were married at a beautiful outdoor ceremony along the banks of the Rappahannock River in June of 2003. Diagnosed with breast cancer in November of 2006, Carla became a warrior and advocate, never wavering in her fight, never giving up hope of beating the odds. Doug was right there with her every step of the way for the next six years - her rock and hero. There is no one God could have put in her path more equipped to be by her side.
Carla attacked her illness with fierce determination and humor! She continued to come to work always looking stylish and beautiful (she had a black belt in shopping) and if you didn't know her, you would never know anything was wrong. Her ethic never faltered, her beautiful smile present through it all, her positive attitude never waffling despite the negative situation.
Throughout, she continued to create amazingly beautiful art work, traveled to the Caribbean several times, took in many a KISS concert (in full make up) and became an advocate and inspiration to many of her sisters also struggling with breast cancer.
Our beautiful Carla continued to live large despite the odds, and I hope we can all take comfort and feel blessed for the time we had with her. She will be sorely missed by everyone she touched.