Carol A. Lima, 84, died peacefully on Saturday, August 14, 2021 with loving family and caregivers by her side at Kent Regency Center where she lived since 2015.
Born and raised in Gloucester, MA, but a long time resident of Coventry, she was the devoted wife of the late Albert Lima of West Warwick with whom she shared 52 years of marriage before his passing in 2007. She was the loyal daughter of the late Jennie "Kalio" Burnham and Gordon Burnham, both of Gloucester, MA.
Carol graduated as a proud "Fisherman" from Gloucester High School located on the Cape Ann peninsula in 1954. She studied in the business and secretarial programs there and also participated in drama, most notably starring in her senior year as Mrs. Gibbs in a performance of Thorton Wilder's Our Town. Carol went on after completing high school, like her two older sisters and three younger brothers, to join the military to serve our country. She served as a proud U.S. Navy Wave from 1954-56. She completed bootcamp and was stationed in Norfolk, VA, where she would later meet Albert, a Marine recently returned from Korea and assigned to guard the Navy base. She served as assistant to five Naval chiefs in her tenure. She would remain a lifelong advocate for women's military service, raising funds annually for the creation and maintenance of the Military Women's Memorial in Washington, D.C. Her American patriotism ran deep. She was known to sport red, white and blue outfits with pride year round, not just on July 4th.
Carol was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister and caring friend to all who knew her. She most certainly inherited her father "Gabby's" penchant for talking and making others feel at ease and appreciated. While growing up in a home with a single landline, her children each report having to typically wait 10-15 minutes for friends who telephoned to finish talking with Carol before talking to them because she was always so interested in others and warmly supportive. A talented and generous homemaker her whole life, Carol was a disciplined and inventive keeper of the Lima household budget like a ship's ledger, raising five children on a carpenter's salary so she could stay home and nurture them.
Carol was a selfless giver all her life. She took care of her aging mother with dementia for years by taking her into the family home. She loved cooking and spending time with family - they were her favorite things to do. She could often be caught literally whistling or singing as she worked. Her Monday meatballs were always a neighborhood hit as were her hearty Portuguese and hamburg soups, simple homemade blueberry cake and yummy holiday pies. She and Albert loved when their children and grandchildren would pile into their modest home on the Pike for Sunday "rain, shine, or snow" cookouts, even if it meant that she'd have to spend all day Monday cleaning to get the place back to her fastidious standards (often with help from conscripted grandchildren whose lungs may still be scarred from the lethal mix of bleach and ammonia to which she seemed immune). She particularly loved cuddling babies, but was someone who could bring calm, give unconditional love and lend wisdom to loved ones of all ages. That North of Boston accent and rich vocabulary of hers really could charm. Her front door and her heart were always open.
In recent years, Carol became a beloved resident at Kent Regency Center in Warwick. Challenged by advancing Alzheimer's, mobility limitations and other ailments, she was never once known to complain or to drop her signature smile and laugh. She'd frequently say, "I'm lucky!" She was always accepting of others, encouraging and optimistic in her outlook. She remained game to participate in all kinds of activities like wheelchair yoga or poetry group, but especially loved to play B-I-N-G-O. It speaks volumes about her character that so many of her seasoned elder caregivers at the Regency truly loved her and admired her strength, can-do attitude and kindness. They noted how Carol was grateful for some of the simplest things in life - a cup of ice water, a scoop of black raspberry ice cream, a fresh application of fire engine red lipstick, a favorite country song on the radio, pristine white sneakers on her feet, word search puzzles and watching the Hallmark Channel. She was an inspiration to so many on how to age with optimism and grace.
Carol is survived by her son Brian Lima of Coventry, RI and daughter Julie Lima Boyle (married to Shawn Boyle) of Cranston, RI. She was recently predeceased by three of her children, Michael Lima (married to Kathleen Harrington Lima), Luanne Mather (married to the late Guy Mather), and Steven Lima, all from West Warwick, RI.
She was the beloved grandmother of the late Jason Mather of West Warwick, RI, Jessica DeSousa of Acushnet, MA, Angela Rosario of West Warwick, RI, Michael Lima Jr. of Warwick, RI, Jennifer Mather of West Warwick, RI, Brian Lima Jr. of Cranston, RI, William Lima of Warwick, RI, and Alyssa Lima of West Warwick, RI, and she had 11 great-grandchildren.
Carol was the loving sister of the late Jacqueline Sanborn of Spokane, WA, the late Barbara Jean Caldwell of Spartanburg, SC, the late Gordon Burnham Jr. of Gloucester, MA, the late George Burnham of Gloucester, MA, and the late David Burnham of Gloucester, MA. She was a favorite aunt to 34 nieces and nephews.
Her Funeral Service will be held Friday, August 20, 2021 at 9 a.m. in the Carpenter-Jenks Funeral Home, 659 East Greenwich Ave, West Warwick, RI, followed by interment with Military Honors in the Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery, Exeter, RI with her late husband Albert. Visitation was held Thursday, August 19, 2021 from 4 – 7 p.m.
Donations in her memory may be made to "Kent Regency Resident Fund" to support the activities program which Carol so enjoyed. 660 Commonwealth Avenue, Warwick, RI 02886.
Condolences may be offered to her family and remembrances of Carol shared online at www.carpenterjenks.com.
Published by Southern Rhode Island Newspapers from Aug. 19 to Aug. 27, 2021.