January 16, 2004

Andrea Carroll remembered

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Andrea Carroll, pictured here with tools of her trade — bottled water, a legal pad and a cell phone — will be remembered in a celebration of her life on Monday, Jan. 19. Courtesy Office of Special Events

Andrea Carroll remembered

Celebration of life service changed to Langford Auditorium

Monday at 10:30 a.m.

Andrea Williams Carroll, Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s longtime director of Special Events, will be remembered by her Vanderbilt friends and colleagues at a special celebration of life service Monday, Jan. 19 at 10:30 a.m. in Langford Auditorium, which is a change from the previously announced location. Mrs. Carroll died at home on Sunday.

A native of Dallas, Texas, Mrs. Carroll created the Special Events office when she came to Vanderbilt in 1975. As director, she coordinated events ranging from the medical center’s annual holiday turkey toss, where employees receive a free turkey, to alumni trips in cities throughout the United States, the medical school’s biennial reunion and elaborate dinners for hundreds, held both on and off campus.

Mrs. Carroll, 54, known for her upbeat personality and joyful sense of humor, was a caring person who worked with the richest citizens of Nashville, but knew no class boundaries. She was motherly to younger staff who worked with her, sent flowers to a friend each year on the anniversary of her husband’s death, and had a knack for the finishing touches on the events she planned.

“There are few people who have contributed as much to our family and this university as Andrea Carroll,” said Dr. Harry R. Jacobson, vice chancellor for Health Affairs. “No one could ever match her ability to give others joy — through the work that she did and through her very presence. We will miss her. We will miss her uniqueness, her grace and the buoyancy she gave us all.”

A memorial service was held at 3 p.m. on Wednesday at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Nashville. Visitation followed in the Cathedral’s Fleming Center.

Survivors include her husband, Tim Carroll; a sister, Barbara Williams of Charlotte, N.C.; a brother and his wife, Kent and Beth Williams of Naperville, Ill.; and brother and wife, Drew and Jo Williams of Arlington, Texas; sister-in-laws and husbands, Linda and Don Earnhart of Dallas and Donald and Louise Carroll of Naucelle, France; mother-in-law, Miriam Carroll of Dallas, nephew and niece, Kent and Mary Kate Williams, and niece and nephew, Allison and Eric Earnhart of Dallas.

“I loved Andrea Carroll,” said Dr. Roscoe R. Robinson, who worked closely with Carroll during his 16 years as vice chancellor for Health Affairs at VUMC. “She was bright, creative, classy and wonderfully supportive of everything I tried to do as vice chancellor. We were fortunate to have her on the team.”

Robinson said he traveled with Mrs. Carroll to many medical alumni dinners from 1981-1997. “She was a gracious hostess who knew just how to create a perfect environment in which we could get to know our alumni better,” he said, adding that he was always impressed by Mrs. Carroll’s creativity at the medical center’s annual Canby Robinson Society dinners. The CRS is the largest donor society at Vanderbilt. “I used to tease her about the flower bill for those dinners, but she told me it was a necessary expense,” Robinson recalled.

Missy Eason, director of the Canby Robinson Society, said Carroll was known for her wonderful sense of style and making sure every detail fell into place prior to an event.

“What she did wasn’t by the book,” Eason said. “She would wave her wand of fairy dust that gave a sparkle and sense of magic to everything she touched.”

Dr. John E. Chapman, who served as dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine from 1976 to 2001, said Carroll will be missed.

“An encyclopedic giant has left our scene. Andrea is gone. From the details of the silverware to the monuments of Vanderbilt, she was everything to Vanderbilt in every way. She and I came to Vanderbilt at about the same time, and we experienced the frustrations and ‘ice breaking’ circumstances of those new at new jobs. She prepared speeches, prepared tables, prepared tickets and just plain prepared Vanderbilt and all those associated with Vanderbilt for their roles.”

Trey Lipman, a friend of Mrs. Carroll’s, recalled her loving personality. “She always took care of everybody else. She had a warm heart, and was there for anybody, in good times and in bad. She loved making people feel happy. She made them feel special. She remembered everybody’s name.”

Jan Lotterer, of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, a longtime friend and co-worker of Mrs. Carroll’s, said Mrs. Carroll loved life and people. “She knew no class. Everybody was the same.”

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Andrea Williams Carroll Fund at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Gift Processing, VU-Station B #357727, Nashville, Tenn., 37235-7727.