Photo submitted by John Emmons
April 17, 2021
SALISBURY — Maybe it was the pancake breakfasts that gave Florence Carroll her long life.
More likely it was her devoted family and strong faith that provided her the strength to live as long as she did.
Carroll died April 15 at the age of 113 at Noble Horizons. She had been the oldest resident of Connecticut.
Known to those at Noble as “Grammy,” Carroll is being fondly remembered.
Her son John Carroll called her an “excellent mother and we thank God for her.” He said she was a very strong woman and devoted to her faith as a Catholic. She was also quite intelligent, put in third grade when starting school because she could already read at that level.
He remembers her saying to him when she was 107 that she was getting old.
“I said, ‘Really?’ and we dropped it at that,” John Carroll said.
Her great-granddaughter Shelby Carroll spoke about how she loved to watch birds, tend to her garden and attend church. “She also loved to cook. On Sunday she would always make cinnamon rolls and Wednesday was spaghetti night. On Easter she made hot cross buns.”
Caroline Burchfield, director of community relations at Noble, said she contacted representatives of the Today Show in 2017 to ask about featuring Carroll when she was approaching her 110th birthday. They agreed and asked her to answer a few fun facts. You can watch the Today Show video here.
At that time Carroll said, “I love limericks and am known to be quick with a joke.” When asked about the secrets of her longevity, she replied, “Devoted family and pancake breakfasts to keep me hearty.”
Her son told the story about that interview.
Al Roker, the interviewer, had been in Amenia the day before and didn’t know that was where Carroll was from. He said he would have visited her if he’d known that’s where she lived.
John Carroll laughed remembering that when his mother talked during the interview about pancakes and baking resulting in her longevity, the staff thought she was saying “bacon” and wondered how that could account for a long healthy life.
Molly Tanner, director of nursing at Noble, described Carroll, who came to live at the facility in 2007, as “feisty,” adding, “If she was upset about something she let us know.”
She said she was loved by everyone and was a favorite resident to all. She was known for wearing little knit hats.
Breakfast, Tanner said, always remained her favorite meal and she loved to sit near the window and enjoy the sunlight.
Nursing assistant Helena Case took care of Carroll at Noble for a year.
“She still had a terrific smile and would always thank us when we covered her with blankets because she enjoyed being warm. She had a great personality.”
Carroll was born Florence Brunese in Millerton, N.Y., on June 9, 1907, the daughter of an Italian-born father and Irish-born mother. As a young adult, she was a professional cook in Lakeville. She married John Carroll in 1930 and they had nine children. She is survived by two sons, a daughter, 11 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.