December 25, 1927 - May 25, 2012
Born Sunday, December 25, 1927 in New York City, New York, Caroline Martha Wilson entered this world determined to change it. On Friday, May 25, 2012; after a 6 month battle with lung cancer, Carol Wilson Caldwell was called home.
Carol’s early childhood was spent on a small farm in Suffern, NY until her family moved to Cliffside Park, NJ where she graduated from high school. Carol was an active member of Trinity Episcopal Church with 8 years perfect attendance and participation in the choir and on the Altar Guild.
After High School, Carol met & married Frank Joseph Nosiay (Fred). To this union was born her first daughter, Peggy Ann. Carol received her accounting certificate and took her first job on Wall Street. A few years later she met her second husband Cecil Vernon Heath and moved to Washington, DC. Carol and Vernon lived at the Rhode Island Plaza apartment complex and in the fall of 1954, they welcomed a daughter, Irene Constance.
In Washington, DC, Carol went to work for the Department of the Navy, found a church home at St. Monica’s Episcopal Church and life long friends in the “Tall Girls”. Carol enjoyed many social activities but was determined to change the segregated world around her. She participated in many protests and often told stories about the March on Washington and the assassinations of Kennedy, King and Malcolm X.
A tireless worker for equal rights and a community activist, in the 60’s, Carol worked for the United Planning Organization (UPO) in the Poverty Program. Ironically years later, she became a member of the Board serving for 23 years. She was very proud to have chaired the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Scholarship Breakfast for 15 years and was always ready to tell everyone about why GED graduates deserved scholarships and how UPO was meeting that need. Carol came to the UPO Board initially as a representative from her beloved neighborhood organization, the Center City Community Corporation (4C’s). Carol served on the Board at 4C’s for more than 20 years.
A community activist…there are so many organizations that Ms. Caldwell supported over the years. She worked for the Shaw PAC and served on their board; she worked for and supported ANC 2c, the North Capitol Collaborative, Friends of the Watha T. Daniels Public Library, the 1st & 3rd District Police Citizens Advisory Councils, as well as, many other neighborhood organizations. Carol was a die hard Democrat and worked on many political campaigns reading like a Who’s Who of Washington power players, (Mayors) Washington, Barry, Kelly, Williams,(Council Chairs); Clarke, Wilson, Cropp, (Council Members); Wilson, Thomas Sr., Nathanson, Evans, Mendelson, Graham, (Delegates to Congress); Fauntroy & Norton and all those whose buttons have been lost. In May 2006 City Council Chair, Linda Cropp, recognized Carol with a Proclamation and Carol W. Caldwell day in Washington, DC.
Carol would have said her most important and cherished role was that of Grandma. Carol raised her first grandchild, Abena Ayanna Najuma and spent as much time as she could with her grandsons, John Nosiay and James Lysander and then her great-grandson Phillip. Carol was always actively involved in Abena’s schools, a vociferous Headstart parent, an active PTA member and guaranteed front row filler at every assembly, dance recital, pageant, and other performances. Carol was always willing to take in a person in need or to welcome a new friend to her family and there are many who called her Grandma.
Carol was preceded in death by her father Lamar Wilson, mother Lytha Wilson Simpson, brother William Wilson, husbands Fred Nosiay, Vernon Heath and Earl Caldwell and daughter Irene Clayton. She is survived by her daughter Peggy Ferguson, granddaughter Abena Hunt, grandsons John and James Ferguson, great-grandson Phillip Harris V, other close family including Lynn Armstrong Patterson, Anthony Patterson, nieces, nephews and many other family and friends.
Whether you called her Ms. Caldwell, Carol, Toni, Mom, Aunt Carol, Grandma, Gran, or Gran-Gran, her witty sense of humor, cantankerous nature, historical recall, keen sense of justice for all, belief in people and faith in God will be missed.
Memorial Service - Bianchi Funeral Chapel, Washington - 11:00 a.m.
Interment - Lincoln Cemetery, Suitland