SHOREWOOD – After Carol Brown of Shorewood died, her friend, Eve Lee, assembled a scrapbook for Carol’s family of all the tributes people sent.
Carol would have been stunned.
That’s because Carol had no idea the significant impact she made on people, Eve, of Antioch, said. Carol was direct, honest, funny and had a gift of making people feel at ease.
In short, Eve said, Carol was a true friend.
“She was an extraordinary person,” Eve said. “She was the most forgiving and humble individual you will ever meet.”
Carol met Eve after Carol’s mother died. Eve helps clients with personal growth and leadership skills, and to work through post-traumatic stress disorder through equine-facilitated learning, Eve said.
For several years, Carol attended every workshop Eve offered. Carol eventually became Eve’s assistant, then her friend and finally a valued member of Eve’s extended family, Eve said.
Eventually, Carol began spending winters in Tucson, Arizona, Eve said, in the same RV park that Eve stayed in. And then Carol took up photography.
Carol especially liked taking pictures of animals, said Carol’s sister, Jacqueline Reposh, of Texas, but she also shot a variety of subjects through periodic field trips with an Arizona photography club.
“She took pictures of an Indian festival out there and did some really good ones,” Jacqueline said.
Floss Smith of Joliet met Carol through a fellow crafter around 2002. Floss and Carol worked together to make and sell leather products – wallets, checkbook covers, key fobs, bell straps – and a variety of parrot toys. In that environment, their friendship blossomed.
Seven years ago, Floss and Carol also became co-owners of Christmas At Our House, a 34-year-old craft show run by various people over the years, Floss said. It’s currently held at the Joliet Elks Lodge 296 during the third weekend in October. Part of the proceeds are donated to charity, Floss said.
Last October when Carol was battling colon cancer, she still worked part of the show.
Carol helped with setup, brought doughnuts and made coffee, Floss said. Carol had a big heart, but she was also tons of fun.
“She had a sarcastic sense of humor,” Floss said. “She could come up with one-liners where all of a sudden you’d turn around and go, ‘What?’”
Carol graduated in 1962 from St. Francis Academy and worked for Caterpillar Inc. until she retired in 2004. She never married, but she took care of her parents, her dogs, and had two nieces whom she dearly loved, Jacqueline said.
Even one of Floss’ parrots adored Carol, Floss said.
After she retired, Carol volunteered at the Blessing Table soup kitchen at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Joliet. She also took a mission trip to Bolivia, Carol’s first time out of the country and her first experience with construction work.
“She never built anything other than a tree house when we were kids,” Jacqueline said.
But Carol was a “tough lady” who endeared herself to the team.
“She was the kind if you had to dig this or move this or lay the cement blocks, she was there building it,” Jacqueline said.
Carol spent her last couple months at Eve’s house, where she could enjoy the peaceful scenery and Eve’s horses. A suncatcher of a bear Carol made hung in her window, the last piece Carol created, Jacqueline said.
Loved ones planned a party for Carol’s birthday May 22, but Carol died May 10 at the age of 71.
45 people gathered as planned on May 22 – with the Arizona friends Skyping in – to celebrate Carol’s life, Eve said.
That included a slide show of Carol’s photographs set to music.
“She had an eye that was incredible,” Eve said.
• To feature someone in “An Extraordinary Life,” contact Denise M. Baran-Unland at 815-280-4122 or email@example.com.