John Carroll was my moms much loved husband as well as my stepfather. He, like most of the greatest generation, was a man of many accomplishments.
Most of you know more about his life and accomplishments than I do as he was already 77 when I first met him. What I do know about John is that, despite his many physical problems, he never lost his interest in life or abandoned his congenial personality. Not surprisingly, he had friends wherever he went and was genuinely loved by many.
Lately, he needed a lot of assistance and he became almost housebound. I never heard him wallow in self-pity and he did not succumb to chronic complaining. The minute he felt a little better he would be ready to re-engage in life. In many ways, John never grew old in his mind. His mental energy level, selflessness, and refusal to give into the obstacles and insults of growing old, typified the best of his generation. He maintained a passion for life and a curiosity about what tomorrow might bring that exceeded that of many half his age.
My mom was John's third wife and their late in life marriage was filled with romance, chivalry, and humor. John began the courting by washing my mom's windows with his special window-washing recipe. It was a charming and transparent strategy. Despite the normal friction that occurs when two people share a life and living space, they made each other happy.
They grew to know the little things that pleased the other one like a back rub or a bowl of ice cream and made routines out of them. When they danced together or did their special toast with wine glasses, age fell from their shoulders and, to the observer it seemed that they were young again, at least in each other's eyes.
In closing, I respected and loved John. He was a man of accomplishment, social grace, kindness, and determination. I know my mom will miss him for the rest of her life. My heart also goes out to his daughter, Nancy, and her family as well as Brad and Judy and their families. I pray that remembering John's example of living each day to the fullest will encourage my mom, John's family and all of us who loved him, when the waves of sadness come.