Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Connie McCarroll's Memorial Service by Marge Bell DHS58

Yesterday was Connie McCarroll Austin’s memorial service.  She would have liked it – lots of good friends, tasteful decorations, beautiful flowers, good food, magnificent music.  Pastor Todd Hillard, Carole Rypkema’s son, provided a heartfelt eulogy that was both touching and entertaining, pointing out that some of the most important words in her obituary were “born and raised in Deadwood, South Dakota.”  Her daughter, Joy, read the poem “Christmas in Heaven.”  Soloist Wil Brown’s beautiful rendition of the Lord’s Prayer brought back memories of attending Christmas Eve Midnight Mass with Patty Williamson. 

I was in fifth grade when my mother and I moved to Deadwood.  Connie was the first person to make me feel welcome.  In the years that followed, we shared many an adventure – band, basketball tournaments, Jobs Daughters, Junior Clodhoppers, driving back and forth between Deadwood and the University of Arizona, moving to New York City, and moving down to Florida – but I think my overriding memory will be her gift of friendship to a bashful newcomer in the fifth grade.  She was like that.

Sarah Ban Breathnach wrote “…our friends are the continuous threads that hold our lives together.”  Rest in peace, friend.

Connie died on Wednesday December 8, 2010.  Marge Bell contacted me with the sad news.  We agreed that it would be best to wait on Connie's obituary and have Marge write about the Memorial Service as a tribute to their life long friendship.  Marge is a fellow blog site author of the sea animal preservation site

The December 12th issue Rapid City Journal printed the following obituary:

LAKE MARY, Fla. - Connie (McCarroll) Austin of Lake Mary passed away Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010. 

She was the daughter of Hugh and Emily McCarroll and was raised in Deadwood, S.D., where her father owned the Ben Franklin Store. She graduated from Deadwood High School and the University of Arizona. Following graduation she taught in Great Neck, N.Y., followed by teaching in Orlando. 

In 1965 she married William Fredrick "Bill" Austin and they had two children. Bill was killed in a plane crash in 1978. 

Connie was very involved in a multitude of community and civic 

activities and was also active in the Republican Party. 

In 1994 she married Don Rogers who survives. She is also survived by daughter, Joy, her husband, Alan, and granddaughter, Sydney; son, Rick; sister, Carol McCarroll Perry; and several nieces and nephews. Also surviving are cousins, Joan Myhren Hughes, Rapid City, S.D., Bob Myhren, Monument, Colo., Jeanne Myhren , San Clemente, Calif., and Kathy Myhren Henningsen, Las Vegas. 

Memorial services will be held Tuesday, Dec. 14, at First Presbyterian Church in Orlando.

Deadwood Ben Franklin in the 1950's

The Florida Orlando Sentinel also added that Connie was chosen by President Reagan as one of 100 women to the National Women's Coalition to promote programs for women.  Carole Rypkema Hillard championed the same cause Internationally, until her accidental death a few years ago.  It is fitting that her son Pastor Todd Hillard presided at Connie's Memorial Service.


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