September 28, 1920 - July 1, 2018
Barbara Broemmelsiek Carroll, a world traveler, bibliophile, accomplished seamstress, horticulturist and best of mothers, died on Sunday July 1, 2018 in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
Barbara was an adventuress, roving to every State in the Union, and to every continent on the planet by various means of transport: tramp steamer, train, airplane, convertible, automobile, tow truck and packed station wagon. All of her travel adventures she took in stride, from being left by a freighter in Constanta, Romania, being left by train in Thunder Bay, Ontario, swimming with the porpoises in the Galapagos and hiking to Machu Picchu.
Her homes were always filled with books. She had a very specific method of categorizing her volumes and woe betide anyone who interfered with her better-than-Dewey-decimal system arrangement. She loved each book tenderly, whether she was reading it in bed, in her favorite reading chair or out-loud to her four adoring daughters, even after they were grown. She taught anyone who was trainable never to write on the pages of a book, turn down its page corners or give away good hard-backed tomes.
Barbara’s love of books and her academic training at Mary Institute in St. Louis, Mills College in San Francisco and Goucher College in Baltimore led naturally to her career in the Baltimore County Public Library System, where she worked for many years. As the Head of BCPL’s inter-library loan system, she employed her reference librarian skills with gusto and was a human search engine before the world had heard of Google. Yet when the computer age came, she did not shrink from it but embraced it with passion and provided computerized family trees with scanned in photographs for all to treasure. With her vast store of knowledge, she could work the NYT crossword puzzles in no time flat.
Not to say that Barbara was a know-it-all, but her ferocious gardening skills were matched only by her need to know the proper Latin name for every plant she esteemed. She was quite snobbish about some plants, relegating them to the trash heap with a dismissive wave of the hand, pursed lips and some comment such as “common” or “trite”. She never was without a place to propagate flowers, ferns and shrubs and worked tirelessly in her garden and for many years in the greenhouses of Cylburn Arboretum in Baltimore.
With Barbara as their mother, her four daughters, Patricia Carroll Hayward, Pamela Carroll vonMatthiessen, Priscilla Karin Carroll and Penelope Ann Carroll, never faced a dull moment of childhood.
Often in collaboration with her husband, Benjamin Edward Carroll (deceased) she would plan trips to caves, battlefields and forts and would organize (illegal) Christmas tree cuttings from the nearby State forest in Birmingham, Alabama.
She showed her daughters how real women changed their own flat tires, and yet how to be gracious if a gallant male stopped to help.
Barbara, as a mother and a friend, was a boon companion on innumerable travels with her adult daughters: Pat, camping along the Trans-Canadian and the unpaved Al-Can Highways; Pam on an African Safari; PK on a Mozart tour across Europe; Pennie on a barge trip through the canals of southern France.
Barbara was known as Granny and loved greatly by her three granddaughters, Catherine Caskey Fennell, Mary Caskey Gregory and Laura Antrim Caskey and by her three great grandchildren, Amanda Marie Fennell, Bridget Jane Gregory and Edwin Farrell Gregory.
She taught them to travel boldly, appreciate anything French and to love art, literature and history.
The family would like to express its gratitude to Joyce Morrissey, Amanda Banaszak and Rose Wright for their loving care over the last years and for the tender concern of the staff at Friends Care Community, Yellow Springs, Ohio.
Donations in her memory may be made to friendshealthcare.org.