Mavis Bowler Carroll

October 12, 1917 - March 7, 2009
Mavis Bowler Carroll

Mavis Carroll, mother of Pam Humbaugh, succumbed to pneumonia in Wilmington, NC on March 7, 2009 at the age of 91.

Mavis was a unique woman, well ahead of her time. She graduated high school at 16 and was given a full scholarship in mathematics to attend New Jersey College for Women (now Rutgers University), graduating in 1938. Her career in mathematics included actuarial analysis, code breaking during WWII for the government and managing a statistics department. Mavis was well known in the statistical field – as a member of the American Statistical Association and as a contributor to the Gordon Research Conferences.

Mavis was never at a loss to entertain herself or others. Her solitary pastimes were intellectual ones, particularly puzzles – crossword, jigsaw, crypto quotes, logic, and anagrams. A voracious reader, she had a particular bent for mysteries – which, of course, she tried to solve before finishing the book. But she also loved socializing, entertaining, cooking and playing games – charades, pictionary, liars dice, six letter word game, trivial pursuit and of course bridge. With her wealth of knowledge, you definitely wanted her on your team.

Mavis was passionate about many things, but the top two were food and traveling. She enjoyed all aspects of food – eating it, preparing it, figuring out new flavor combinations and how to creatively use leftovers.

Her love of travel took her virtually anywhere, anytime and with anyone. She liked to experience countries on her own terms – no guided tours for her. She would walk around, visit museums, admire architecture, experience local cuisine and just soak in the culture. But she also liked learning about the culture, and took advantage of educational travel through Elderhostel, making many friends that she kept contact with to this day.

Mavis is survived by her 3 daughters – Pamela Humbaugh of Wilmington NC, Kay Carroll of Litchfield CT and Patricia Hehlo of East Brunswick NJ, as well as 3 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.

At Mavis’ request there will be no services. At some future date, her ashes will be spread in “her” ocean. Her love of animals led her to donate her pacemaker to a vet school. Her memory can be honored with donations to the New Hanover Humane Society, 2405 N. 23rd Street, Wilmington, NC 28401.

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  • January 15, 2010
    Bill Barnwell says:
    I waa given some of my cousin Mavis's ashes and during my visit to Peru & Ecucador (Machu Pinchu and the Galapagos) I spread some of her ashes in both locations. Was happy to help Mavis make a trip to two more countries. I know she would have loved both.

  • March 09, 2009
    Joyce Bergmark says:
    I always felt privileged to spend time with Mavis. Her keen intellect provided new learning experiences and her great smile made me happy to be with her. She was a kind, caring friend. She had a deep and abiding love for her family. I used to tell her that "I wanted to be just like her when I grow up".

  • March 09, 2009
    Donna Neal says:
    The obituary is lovely. It captures the essence of Mavis. She was a great lady and an inspiration to many. I have many fond memories of Mavis, many of the best ones take place at her kitchen table in Tarrytown, where much good food and wine was served, much bridge was played, many stories were told and much laughter was heard. I was also lucky enough to share many beach houses in North Carolina. She always made me feel like part of the family. I'll miss her wit, warmth and welcoming manner.

  • March 09, 2009
    Dee Sherman says:
    Dear Pam, Patty and Kay, I know that you all know how much I loved both of your parents. Mavis was always an inspiration for me. It was so remarkable to me, not only how much so knew, but that she knew so early, before most. I often marveled at her worldliness and bravery. She had to be brave to leave the security of her life to take on the world on her own. And if I remember correctly, it was not only on her own, but on her own terms. Some of my fondest Mavis memories are, of course, playing Bridge. Remember our weekends at the Jersey Shore Does anyone else remember that when my daughter, Kira, was interviewing for college, Mavis had her stay at her home for a few days, when she needed to be nearby for some interviews. What a woman she was. I always felt honored to know her. I know your fond memories will help you get through this time. One of the prayers in our Temple says it best: She will live on as long as her memory lingers. For generations to come each time her named is mentioned, or she is thought of, a small part of her remains. Love, Dee

  • March 11, 2009
    Harvey ^ Anne Slatin says:
    I met Mavis, her husband, and her three young daughters some fifty odd years ago. We were guests of Arturo Covert's at his cottage at Fair Harbor, Fire Island, N.Y. Arturo was an associate of Mavis at the Squibb's Laboratoryin New Bruinswick. There were many such meetings at the beach house. Mavis was a charming, entertaining, fascinating, accomplished, delightful young woman. We luxuriated in her conversation, intellect and humor. When we lived in Greenwich Village in New York, Mavis visted us several times. Later when we moved to Stamfordd, we saw her when she came to visit Arturo during those annual get togethers with the Krolls, or we would visit her in Tarrytown. Otherwise our communication was through correspondence or from tales Arturo brought back after his visits. A year after my wife, Yeffe, died, I married Anne who was 30 years my junior. Mavis' comment, "Harvey is either mad or reckless." I year later, at age 64, I fathered a son, my sole offspring. Mavis' retort, "Harvey is both mad and reckless." Mavis will live ever in my memories.