Carol Ann Colwell
(1960 - 2012)

Carol Ann Colwell

October 11, 1960

January 31, 2012

Carol joined our family on October 11, 1960 when we lived at 7480 Michigan Road in Augusta, Indiana. She was the first girl in the family since Grand Aunt Dorothy (Colwell-Rosenbaum, 8-11-1920), so the entire family was excited. Already having two boys, William and Michael, the grandmothers (Marge and Ruth) were ready for a girl. Gatherings always include a large extended family, grandparents from both sides and of course, Uncle “Owl” (Al) Jeffries, Jr.

Geoffrey joined the family after our move to Suburban Drive, in 1962. Gatherings there or at the grandparents houses were frequent. There always seemed to be some event requiring us to get together. Carol was fortunate enough to know three of her great grandparents. As a baby and a small child, we took her with us to visit her great grandparents, Nona and Carl Colwell at their small farm in Hazelwood, Indiana. I don’t know if she was old enough to remember Carl Colwell, we lost Carl in fall of 1964, when Carol was just short of 4, but Nona visited us in New York when Carol was 9 or 10. Carol knew and spent time with her great-grandmother Eva May Ricketts until November 1975, when Grandma Ricketts passed. Carol was 15. My mother had married Fred Warner in September 1956 and to our kids, he was just a natural grandfather. His daughter, Gladys became Aunt Gladys to our kids and joined the extended family.

We moved to New York in 1965 when Carol was just over 4 and frequently returned to Indianapolis to visit and to participate in family events. These trips gave us an opportunity to visit (and often stay with) Aunt Mary (Ann’s aunt) and Uncle Franklin Wood, and their four kids in Zanesville, Ohio, on our way to Indiana. We tried to travel as often as we could (usually in one or two week increments, as I was working in those days). One of Carol’s first trips, during the summer of 1962, was to Indiana Dunes State Park. We used a “pop-up” camper and Carol experienced the large sand beach of Lake Michigan. (I have video)

Each year, in August, we returned for the Indiana State Fair. As the extended family grew there were more of us at the State Fair. Amusement parks were their early days in the 1960s and ‘70s. There were several trips to King’s Island in Ohio. During the years we lived in New York we went to the Smoky Mountains, Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, Disney World (while visiting Grandma Ruth), Cade’s Cove and Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Our longest trip took us to Denver and the nearby Rockies. We went through the midwestern plains states on the return trip and discovered how vast and flat they are. Kansas offered pink and blue outhouses in their rest areas. Carol often passed these up to wait for the motel where we would stay overnight. Carol’s main criteria for a place to stay was a swimming pool. We always thought Michael was going to write a book, “Restrooms I Have Visited”, which included one somewhere in the depths of Mammoth Cave. Carol always wanted and ordered egg salad sandwiches so we assumed her book would be “Egg Salad Across America”.
In the mid to late ‘70s we often went to Riverdale, Georgia for Thanksgiving with Uncle Al, Aunt Sharon, and their daughters Terry and Melissa. Grandma Marge and Grandpa Jeff lived with Al and Sharon so a good part of the extended family was there. Carol's last trip to Georgia was December 1980 for Jeff’s memorial service, with the family.

With the birth of her sister, Candace, in February 1972, Carol, at age 11, got what many girls that age want, a real live action doll. She discovered what many girls do - that these dolls are a lot of work and require a lot of attention. Although there were many frustrating things, Carol found this to be a great experience and became quite an advocate for her sister.

She participated in live reenactments of the Rocky Horror Picture Show on stages in front of the picture playing on the screen. She bore a striking resemblance to the character Columbia and constructed props to support the portrayal. She attended a “Free School” in which learning seemed to be optional but she did learn many things. Carol attended BOCES, a career-training program, to learn to be an actor. She discovered she did not like auditioning and switched to Large Animal Care. We, and she, felt the training from these two programs prepared her to join the circus as a clown.

She worked for Toy R Us and, at the time of the accident, she lived in the borough of Queens in New York City and worked for a retail clothing shop in lower Manhattan. Matter of fact, it was on the Manhattan Bridge on the way to this job where the accident occurred. At first we had high hopes for a full recovery, based on what the doctors told us, but the damage was just too extensive. At first it was very hard to leave her care in the hands of others, but we realized her requirements were way beyond us.

She moved to Canton, Michigan with us in 1982. Ann and a nurse accompanied her on an American Airlines flight to Detroit. (Ann said the nurse was more for her than Carol.) She was transported to a nursing home in Plymouth, Michigan. We were able to bring her home to the house a couple of times per month at first. With some assistance from medical and insurance advisors, she was enrolled in a Closed Head Injury recovery program in Tecumseh, Michigan. The intense care did stimulate her somewhat, but it required a lot of work on her part.

In 1985 GM bought EDS. I was transferred to EDS and they became responsible for Carol's medical expenses through their medical program. EDS was looking for a less expensive CHI program which brought Carol to Howell, Michigan. The Howell facility has been through several name and ownership changes over the years, but is currently known as Howell Care Center. This is where Carol met Marlene Reed. Marlene was injured in California and returned to Michigan to be near her family. Although they spent some time apart, they have been roommates for over 25 years. Carol became part of Marlene’s family and Marlene part of Carol’s family. Over the years, as staff came and went, they also became her family. That is the way it was on January 31, 2012.



"Another year, another birthday. She would have been 59."
William Colwell
October 11th, 2019
"October 11, 2018, She would have been 58. Happy Birthday doesn't seem to do it."
William Colwell
October 11th, 2018
"It seems like all of the pictures show Carol smiling and having fun, usually with one of her brothers or sister. She really seemed to enjoy her family. I wish I could have been part of that. It would have been a blast!"
Linda Caraboa Colwell
February 7th, 2012
"I noticed near the end of the 1965 Christmas video Carol is eating one of Grandmother Ruth's oatmeal fudge cookies. In later years she would lead the production of that wonderful holiday snack!"
February 6th, 2012


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