Lynn Carroll: This Is Who You Are Missing


When death comes to the military community, it comes by Facebook. Tuesday morning Amy messaged me, “You knew Lynn Carroll, didn’t you? Anyway, she passed away. Cancer.”

Cancer? Somehow Army wife Lynn Carroll wasn’t a person you thought could be struck down by anything, much less cancer.

I’ve known Lynn Carroll for years -- since before Facebook. She reached out to me when my first book was published and always passed along research she thought I should see. I loved seeing her smiling face at the Spouse Summit and Spouse X and MOAA conferences and job fairs.

I could always pick her out of a crowd because the lady did love to wear red -- red blazers, red blouses, red ball gowns.

You knew Lynn Carroll, too, didn’t you? You probably heard of Lynn from her work with the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act. Or the Military Spouse Business Association.

You didn’t know Lynn? That’s OK, because Lynn knew you. She probably cornered you at an event and urged you to go to Entrepreneur school and start your own business. She hooked you up with someone who would help you with your project. She was the one at your table who made you feel part of the group. She remembered your name.

Lynn Carroll at spouse summit

Now she is gone. And what does she leave? What does an Army wife leave to this world? She leaves what would bring tears to your eyes: A husband she loved for more than 25 years. A son and daughter on the cusp of adulthood. A beloved mother and father and sisters. So many close friends.

And all of us in the military community. We are left behind, too. Because whether you knew her or not, Lynn Carroll was one of the great ones -- one of the many, many great ones who people our military community.

Part of her legacy is that she left behind an expectation that when you reached out in the military community, someone nice, someone good, someone kind would reach back.

So the next time you don’t want to go to a family readiness event or a unit picnic or a conference or a board meeting, I hope you will put on something red and go anyway. There is more than one way to honor a life well lived. Go do something for Lynn-- and then have a froo-froo umbrella drink in her honor.

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