Helen ‘Mema’ Carroll, age 92, died peacefully in her bed at home, late Sunday evening. Born in Lakeland, FL on March 24, 1928, to Burton Rowe and Lillie Mary Hutchinson Caswell, she was the 4th of 18 children. Helen graduated Kathleen High in 1946 and married the love of her life, Vernon Joel Carroll 3/19/1949. They had 4 children.

Helen, better known as ‘Mema’ by all of her grandchildren and everyone else in the neighborhood, was a pillar of strength and support to everyone in her extensive family. Mema could always be counted on to have something on hand to feed a hungry visitor, and she made the best sweet tea east of the Mississippi. Though small of stature, Mema was a force to be reckoned with as any of her children and grandchildren can attest. There will never be another like her!

Helen leaves behind many mourning loved ones including: 1 daughter: Louise (Ed) Shaffer, Winter Haven, 2 sons: Richard V. and Raymond J. Carroll, both of Lakeland, FL; 3 brothers: Joseph (Peggy) Caswell, Gainesville, FL, Mack (Virginia) Caswell, Salem, SC, Jack (Judy) Caswell, Newport Richey, FL; 5 sisters: Virginia McElfresh, Windemere, FL, Tutti Wills, Joann (Sonny) Smith, Mary Ellen Jordan, and Gladys (Buddy) Brim, all of Lakeland, FL; 7 grandchildren, Robert (Kaley) Behl, Gainesville, FL Sandy (Russ) Kyser, Lakeland, FL, Edward (Ruth) Shaffer, Hilo, Hawaii, Angela Shaffer, Aurora, CO, Karen Shaffer, Renton, WA, Aaron (Angela) Carroll, Lakeland, FL, Katie Carroll, Avon Park, FL, 6 great grandchildren, Kaylee (Billeh) Jason, Kia and Kacey Kyser, Tanasia, Tiara and Preston Carroll, all of Lakeland, FL, and 1 great-great grandchild, Aubree Jason. There are many, many nieces and nephews and other family members that were very precious to Helen, but, too numerous to mention. In addition to her parents, Helen is predeceased by her husband of 42 years, Vernon J. Carroll, daughter, Linda D. Behl, three brothers, William, John, and Thomas Caswell; and six sisters, Lillie Taylor, Ethel Gillespie, Bertine Caswell, Barbara Welsh, Alma Vick, and Betty Jean McDaniel.

In light of the current global health crisis no Memorial is planned at this time. Helen’s entire family looks forward to the opportunity to celebrate her long and amazing life when it is safe to do so. Helen chose cremation, Gentry Morrison Southside. Her cremains will be interred at Oak Hill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers and in honor of Helen, please consider a donation to Cornerstone Hospice, 2590 Havendale Blvd. NW, Winter Haven, FL 33881.

Condolences may be sent to the family at Gentry-Morrison Funeral Home.

Keep Up With Lakeland

Each Thursday, we’ll send you the latest news, including a preview of weekend events

SEND FEEDBACK, corrections or news tips: newstips@lkldnow.com


Something went wrong. Please refresh the page and/or try again.

Leave a comment

Your Thoughts On This? (Comments are moderated; first and last name are required.) Cancel reply