Carol Louise Norton Carbone
MISSOULA, MT - The world lost a kind, gentle booklover and quiet rebel on November 26, 2020, when former Beatrice resident Carol Carbone died just months before her 100th birthday of complications of Covid-19. Carol Louise Norton was born on February 12, 1921 in Sidney to Vivan Alva Norton and Gladys Emery. She loved learning from a young age and taught her younger brother Robert, who was promoted out of kindergarten on his first day thanks to her instruction. She was very close to her cousin Barbara and they spent hours reading together. When her family moved to Beatrice, Carol enjoyed the public library and aspired to become a librarian. Carol was the first in her family to attend a four-year college, the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, close enough to send her laundry home by train for her mother to wash. During the Great Depression, her father, grandfather and uncle all worked for the Dempster Wind Mill Company selling an important product during the Dust Bowl years. Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Carol left college in her senior year to work during World War II in Washington, D.C. for the Social Security Administration. In D.C. she made a life-long friend, Harriet Willis, a Frenchwoman who was visiting the U.S. when the Germans invaded France. Carol attended French church services in D.C. and met a young naval officer, Arthur Conner, who spoke French and studied Chinese. They married after the war and moved to Cuba, where Carol's first daughter, Cynthia, was born. Later they moved to Iowa, where Carol typed Art's Ph.D. thesis, and Nebraska, where he taught Spanish in college. By then, her second daughter, Diane, started school and Carol began working part-time in the local library and completed her degree. During summers, she earned her Masters in Library Science at Denver University, enjoying weekends with her cousin Barbara in the mountains near Conifer. Carol began working in St. Cloud, MN at the Veterans Hospital library. After she divorced, she worked for many years as the Chief Librarian at the V.A. Hospital in Sheridan, WY, running the general library for the patients and also the medical library for the doctors. After she retired, she volunteered at the Sheridan Public Library. Carol shared her love of archaeology with her second husband, Jerry Carbone, and they spent many weekends in the Big Horn mountains searching for arrowheads and traveling throughout the West and Southwest. After Jerry died in 1997, Carol enjoyed traveling with her grandchildren, Alison and Morgan. History and literature fascinated Carol and she loved sharing her passions with her children and grandchildren, whether showing them around New York City, taking them to Shakespeare plays at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis or introducing them to her friend Harriet in Paris. She inspired her daughters and granddaughters with her love of reading. An avid reader of the New Yorker since college, she also read and collected books on medieval European tapestries, Southwest pottery and Wyoming history. She traveled to Hawaii, Mexico and Europe many times, to France, Great Britain and Italy, most recently when her older granddaughter married a Frenchman and her younger granddaughter was studying in Edinburgh, Scotland. She lived with her older daughter in Arizona before moving to Missoula to be near her younger daughter. Carol was unfailingly kind and compassionate, modeling unspoken courage and determination in pursuing her career and later facing her failing eyesight.
She was preceded in death by her beloved parents, Vivan and Gladys Norton; brother Robert Norton; and husband, Jerry Carbone. She is survived by her cousin, Barbara Butterfield; daughters, Cynthia Riley of Phoenix, Arizona and Diane Conner (Tom Trigg) of Missoula; her granddaughters, Alison Conner (Erwann Cantin) of St. Omer, France, and Morgan Trigg of Luxembourg; and her great-grandchildren, Margot Cantin Conner and Samuel Cantin Conner; adored nephews and nieces Steve (Pam) Norton of Beatric,; Dave (Betty) Norton of Filley, Linda (James) Lamb of Elkhorn, Marcia (John) Busboom of Pickerell; and numerous cousins.
The family will hold a celebration of her life in Filley in 2021 when it is safe to gather. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be sent to the Beatrice Public Library.