Laurence E. Carroll, MD
February 11, 2021
Our lives changed direction on January 18, 2021, when Laurence "Larry" Edward Carroll had a fall at home. In suffering a traumatic brain injury, Larry received care at Lancaster General Hospital before returning home under hospice care. Larry passed peacefully on February 11th surrounded by the love of his family.
Larry could talk to any person about any topic and he rejoiced in the discovery of new understandings. The exploration of concepts and connection of associations defined the constant focus of his discussions.
Husband, Dad, Grandpop: He celebrated over 50 years of marriage with the love of his life, Janet Taylor Carroll, through discussions on long walks and over New York Times word puzzles. They enabled each other's professional successes as together they founded what is now Hypertension and Kidney Specialists and he supported Janet in her work with Hospice of Lancaster County (now Hospice and Community Care), together brainstorming and serving as sounding boards. Most recently, Larry embraced the role of volunteer to support Janet's election to the Manheim Township School Board. They nurtured and supported the dreams of their children; Andrew, Bryan, and Sara. They delighted in the activities and achievements of their four granddaughters, Helena & Evelyn - daughters of Andrew and Anne Kinderwater Carroll, and Amelia & Elizabeth - daughters of Bryan and Gina Veloso. Grandpop especially would want to engage in discussions over homework or share advice from a book or an online article. As a family, we were touched by the many comments on our CaringBridge page about the frequent articles, words of advice, and encouragement that friends and colleagues would receive from him.
Friend: Larry loved to share stories, often repeatedly. His best friend from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, Larry Bernberg, pulled Larry C from the water off Corson's Inlet, with many retellings since that sunfish sailboat accident in the early 80s. His best friend from his training days at Duke University, Don Greeley, was running the Chicago marathon in the early 2000s and serendipitously passed Larry on the street in the often-cited explanation of how small the world is. Incidents that stand as examples of the magic of enduring friendships in which conversations can be restarted as if no time has passed. The "Lost Tribe", which began as a fellowship of young families at the First Presbyterian Church, has been both the source and the audience for 40 years of adventurous tales. Larry cherished the many friendships established during early morning exercise classes at the YMCA before starting his workday. In recent years, Larry recounted his stories with the Eagle Camp (Vermont) Writing Group and captured sunsets on the water in his words.
Physician: In Larry's role as a physician, he considered the art of taking medical histories as a means of listening to the life stories of his patients beyond their medical condition. And though he retired from private practice in 2011, he never truly retired. After retirement from his practice, he frequently discussed his continued medical education efforts with his son Bryan and colleagues. As a lieutenant commander in the US Navy in the mid-70s, he delivered care for two years at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. As a nephrologist in Lancaster County, Larry had ample opportunities during dialysis rounds to collect advice from local farmers. As a West Philly transplant, the only child of Edna Holt and John (Jack) Lawrence Carroll, he relished the gardening wisdom from his patients, and the planting of his seeds and harvests were nurtured by years of recommendations. An avid collector of jokes from his patients, he was sometimes less attentive to remembering the punchlines. For those who were fortunate to be his patients, Larry could quickly recall the details of their care and would inquire about their health and their families.
Scholar: Larry viewed scholarly activities as an ongoing discussion with the historical leaders of medical sciences. He continued to engage medical colleagues after retirement through emails and phone calls. On the day of his fall, he had registered for additional medical coursework. He was committed to supporting the education of health care providers in Lancaster, giving numerous lectures, and contributing to local medical journals. Prior to his retirement, he derived great pleasure from his mentoring of medical students at the University of Pennsylvania, participating in small group discussions on doctoring. Most recently, he was collaborating with Janet and his son Bryan on a study of shared decision-making and palliative care in the setting of aggressive cutaneous carcinoma. Reading, writing, and discussing medicine was his salve for the constant itch that is the mystery of human health and wellness.
Leader: Through leadership roles in multiple organizations, Larry was the change that he wanted to see in the world. He dedicated decades of service on the Ethics Committees of Lancaster General Hospital and St. Joseph Hospital. He has also served many roles within the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lancaster. His injury interrupted his terms as the Vice President of the Lancaster Medical History Museum, Board service for the Kidney Foundation of Central PA, and the Chair of the newly created Manheim Township Senior Advisory Committee. Our community will miss Larry's voice in numerous important debates and decisions.
Volunteer and Philanthropist: Larry fully embraced a life of service beyond his medical profession through charity and volunteering. He contributed to dozens and dozens of different charities throughout the years. He volunteered to maintain the Mount Moriah Cemetery in Philadelphia. He served as a reading tutor for second-grade students at Buchanan Elementary School for over 10 years. He participated in many community events, including charity bike rides and walks, as well as social justice activities.
Musician, Singer, and Writer: Music was always an integral part of Larry's life. He would share past singing performances dating back to his childhood as a boy soprano in his church choir (dripping candle wax on the hymnal on Christmas Eve) and the Philadelphia Boys Choir at the Academy of Music. During his time with the University of Pennsylvania Glee Club, he was a member of the famed Penn Pipers, which Janet admits is one of the reasons she agreed to their first coffee date. He sang in medical school with the Dorsal Root and Dermatomes. In Lancaster, he sang with the UUCL choir and for the past seven years with Janet and the Music For Everyone (MFE) Community Chorus. When sharing MFE recordings, Larry would point out that the director, Jonathan, as well as his predecessor, AJ, had perfect pitch and say, "imagine how great that would be." On February 6th, we were blessed by a driveway/garage, a socially distant performance from the MFE Community Chorus that provided solace to Larry and his family for his final days. We played those recordings for him repeatedly.
Gardener, Natural Historian: As a family, we will continue our conversations with Larry outdoors where we will see him everywhere. Snow currently blankets the first shoots of asparagus that Larry tended for decades. His raised beds are calling for lettuce, cucumbers, and beets. Goldfinches are dancing around the feeders that he maintained. The red-tailed hawks of Lancaster have been holding vigils from the electric towers and light posts. The ghost crabs and skimmers of the New Jersey shore will miss Larry's annual count. We will continue to collect nature facts and understanding of our natural world through the Cape May Birding tours and the Ocean City Nature Beach Walks. Most importantly, we will continue Larry's summer assessment of the corn crop, acknowledging the planting, temperatures, and rain, while looking forward to a prosperous harvest in August for local farms.
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