The last of “those crazy Averills” died Monday, March 10, of congestive heart failure. There won’t be too many left alive who remember why they were called that, or the little sister who was meant to be named Laurel until she was born on Christmas Day, 1924 — not even brother Preston’s surviving kids or sister Dot’s descendants on-Island. The big kids insisted she was their Christmas Carol, and doted on her endlessly even if she did complain about all those out-of-date, hand-me-down dresses. Her mother had six kids in a row and then Carol arrived six-and-a-half years later — like the dot under an exclamation point, she always said.

Carol joined a rowdy bunch of kids prone to things like taking two-year-old Walt out on the roof to see the parade, or Alita hanging outside the window by her fingertips to better see the fire trucks over her shoulder. Carol didn’t fall far from the march-to-your-own-drummer tree, growing more stubborn and independent with every passing decade.

She went down to Florida to escape the snow, working for the phone company first as an operator and working her way up to middle management. She married at 28 and had two children who survive her, Robert Wesley Shaver and Alita Dee Shaver. She got divorced when it was still faintly scandalous to do so, and did a fabulous job on her own of raising kids who thought the world of her.

She took early retirement after they were out of high school and got herself a motorcycle, a leather jacket, and a degree as a human service aide. She then worked at North Florida Evaluation and Treatment Center for 10 years, earning rave reviews for her wonderful way with therapy, before retiring yet again.

A Scrabble fiend, mad for word games and puzzles, and a computer game aficionado, Carol had a lot of fun for several decades, making friends everywhere she went and never failing to amaze people with her good nature and raucous sense of humor. She wrote her own epitaph years ago and lived up to it: “Here lies Carol; she lived well. We’ll all miss her — she was swell.”

Everyone who knew her says she was a wonderful person and a joy to be around, and none of them are wrong. The body passes, but the soul goes on forever. We are so lucky to have known this soul in this lifetime.