Carol was born to Mildred Ashley, pianist, and Byron Gay, songwriter. While a teenager, Carol met her future husband, Jack McGill. Carol and Jack both went to UCLA, where Jack majored in geology and Carol majored in music. From an early age, Carol attracted many friendships. Her close friends from high school and college remained lifelong friends. Carol and Jack married in 1943. Soon after their marriage, Jack left for WWII service as a Navy ensign on a destroyer in the Pacific, and Carol volunteered as a nurses’ aide at an L.A. hospital.
After the war, Jack worked in geology. Carol taught piano to children part-time at home. She was quite involved with the interests and activities of her son and daughter. Carol brought her considerable creativity, her love of nature and music, her cheerful disposition, and her values of integrity and kindness to all her endeavors.
A promotion for Jack to Chief of the Engineering Geology branch of the U.S. Geological Survey brought the family to Colorado in 1964. Carol continued piano teaching, and was a beloved teacher, into her 70s. She felt her greatest accomplishment was attaining National Board Certification in Music. With her capacity for friendship, Carol gained devoted friends in every arena in which she found herself. Carol was very active civically and socially: she was an enthusiastic member of the Denver Symphony Guild; an active participant in music associations; the social glue for her husband’s work colleagues and spouses; and a joyful member of a women’s group.
When her beloved husband died at an early age of A.L.S., she showed her considerable strength and resolve by carrying on with her activities and friends, and she took responsibility for her mother’s well-being. Carol took special delight in her grandson, the son of her son and daughter-in-law, and supported his education.
In 2003, Carol experienced a severe stroke. The next year she moved to Seattle to be near her daughter. She entered The Hearthstone, and even though disabled and able to speak only a few words, her luminous spirit, her concern for others, and her positive and loving nature soon garnered love from residents and staff. The Health Center caregivers were exceptional in their kindness and compassion. Carol lived there happily, making the most of her situation, having and creating quality of life until the end.
Carol is survived by son, John, of NY; daughter, Marilyn, of WA; and grandson, John Andrew, of CA. The family held a private Celebration of Life. For those wishing to make a contribution to honor Carol’s memory, please consider Education Through Music – Los Angeles.