Excerpts from her Eulogy
Carol was healer. Within the faith, with Christ as her guide, she could touch the most stubborn hearts and win them in the name of love, bringing them into the arms of a loving God. That same unique gift left multitudes in it’s wake as she moved through hospitals and medical facilities throughout South Florida. If you have ever been in a hospital or spent time with a loved one there, she was the nurse that you pleaded to God that she would be the one caring for your loved one. Medical staff that worked with Carol have all shared that her level of patient care made you want to be better at your own skill set. Through her tactful, and compassionate way, she demanded and supported you to meet those goals as well as rise above them.
Carol was mother. In her eyes, her children were precious gems. She challenged others to rise in the way that they loved their family and children.
As wife, Carol clinged to her husband. He truly was her Knight and Shining Armor. She taught others how to honor your spouse and she never spoke one word criticizing her Prince. She was all-in, she loved him with everything she had. She was an example to us all in how we should treat not only our spouses but everyone we meet.
In her home, all were welcomed. The line between family and friends was often blurred.
It has been said that when selfish people die, all the things they did for themselves, die with them. But for those who are selfless, those people live on through the things that they did for others and the lives of the people who they touched. Carol gets to live on. Not only through eternal life, not only in the hearts of those who loved her, but in how we all live our own lives.
As believers, we need to love people where they are and value them as priceless Children of God. We need to become like Carol, masters of service and love.
As members of the domestic church, our homes and family. We need to get our houses in order to make sure they are both welcoming and that love can be found there.
As those who belong to the healing profession, we need to “show up” and to always be at our very best. To demand the best of care to those that we are called to serve.
Carol was survived by her husband, Ed; children, Jennifer (Jim) Chiarello, Shawn (Chris) Gordon, and Brian Salazar; mother, Frances Hinkle; brother, Paul (Martha) Meshensky; aunt, Faye Valerio; and mother-in-law, Ruth McGee. She also leaves 10 grandchildren, nieces, nephews, sisters-in-law, and brothers-in-law to cherish her memory. Carol was preceded in death by her son, Christopher Salazar.
About The Carol Ann Salazar Foundation
Carol Salazar was many things. Wife, mother, grandmother, nurse, advocate for Youth Ministry and faithful follower of her Lord. She received her heavenly reward on April 21st, 2016. Through her work and her life, she touched innumerable lives. To honor her memory and to pay forward the gifts she brought to those around her while on this earth, the Carol Ann Salazar Foundation was created.
The plans for the foundation will be to have a particular focus on youth ministry. The foundation serves another purpose as well. By extending the legacy of Carol Salazar in a helping manner and as a source of the outpouring of Christ’s mercy, her family looks for a source of healing. By exercising the example taught by Carol, the foundation has a vision of helping those around them by highlighting and sponsoring programs relative to youth.
Though still in the early stages, the first board meeting is in January 2017, the Carol Ann Salazar Foundation has ambitious goals that will continue the family matriarch’s legacy. Recently I had an opportunity to discuss the foundation with Board Member Chris Gordon. What follows is that interview which reflects a deep love and respect for the foundation’s namesake.
PETE SOCKS: Who is Carol Salazar to you?
CHRIS GORDON: She and Ed (her husband) were my High School Youth Ministers. They both became my in-laws about 15 years ago.
PS: Can you tell me a little bit more about her.
CG: She was a registered nurse and an advocate for Youth Ministry within the church. Beyond titles, she loved. She challenged you to be the best version of you by simply being in a relationship with you. She had big expectations for those she knew and she made you want to gain and retain her approval in everything that you were doing. Knowing you let her down, could ruin your day.
PS: Anything unique about the relationship you shared with her?
CG: I assumed that once she became by mother-in-law, she would continue to be the “youth minister” I grew up with. As my youth minister, her love was unconditional. You did not have to invest in that relationship as you were the center of it.
As my mother-in-law, it was personal for her and the bar was a lot higher. She was a fierce advocate for her daughter, my wife Shawn and she was very clear on her expectations of me as the husband of her daughter and the father of her grandchildren.
PS: What do you miss the most about her?
CG: We used to banter back and forth, have light hearted jokes. We could go back and forth for hours. We would talk while she cooked meals in the kitchen. I miss those times the most. It hurts a lot to even think that those days are memories now.
PS: Was she very spiritual?
CG: Yes, I believe so. However, that is an interesting question as her and I did not talk theology very much. It was a lot more simplistic. She loved, she served, and she healed. Her husband, Ed could probably answer that question better than I. I can tell you that when I attended Catholic Mass with her, I used to watch her. During the Liturgy of the Word, she used to distract me with all of her grandmother antics of loving and interacting with her grandchildren. It would drive me crazy. However, during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, she seemed like she just melted into the Mass, falling into deep prayer. After Communion, her eyes were always saturated with tears. I see that in my wife as well. That deep love for Eucharist, something the two of them have in common.
PS: How is the family doing without her?
CG: You have to understand who Carol was in our family. If our family was an orchestra, she was the conductor. And being a family, of head strong, type-A personalities, that is a difficult job. Losing her, relates to our family as a traffic light going out at a busy 4-way intersection. We all are sort of just standing there looking at each other, uncertain of what is the next move for us.
So how is the family doing? We really aren’t. I feel like we are all in a perpetual frozen state of shock in regards to losing her. We go about living our lives in the same way as if you would lose your car keys. You know they will eventually turn up and you run yourself in circles trying to find them. With the keys, you usually do. With Carol, we are not going to find her, at least on this side of heaven. I think we all are delaying the grieving process as long as we can.
PS: Can you tell me about the Foundation?
CG: This is difficult for me to talk about. My personal relationship with God is a very Holy Spirit driven spirituality. It’s mostly made up of me sensing things and discerning things.
I want to be sensitive to my other family members in regards to the days after Carol’s passing as many are looking for signs or are wishful for a moment of feeling her spirit. Where the norm of my spirituality has always been a sense of things, with Carol, I have and continue to feel her presence. I feel her pushing me, almost to the point of it being uncomfortable towards establishing her foundation. I feel that time is of the essence. I believe the primary focus of the foundation will be to further those causes she believed in but I also believe it will be the catalyst for the rest of my family being able to find healing and closure but even more a renewed purpose of furthering Carol’s passions of helping others, and all of us, family and friends, serving others together. I believe it is the sign the rest of my family is waiting for, she is trying to reach them through her foundation.
PS: Is it a foundation or a non-profit organization?
CG: We are a foundation that was established as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. Funds will be derived from family and friends who loved Carol and who want to continue her legacy. Those who did not know Carol but whose principles align with what Carol’s life stood for are also invited to contribute to the foundation.
PS: Does the foundation have a vision, a mission, or any guiding principles?
CG: The first board meeting will be held in January 2017 where all of those will be determined. My personal belief is that there will be a major youth ministry advocacy component with a minor component of supporting nursing, more specifically with providing scholarships for young people seeking a career in nursing, additionally promoting quality of care in the nursing field.
PS: Do you have any thoughts on what the foundation will look like in the years to come?
CG: In my mind, during the first years, I see the foundation on a broader scale being an advocate for Youth Ministry in the Archdiocese of Miami. On a smaller scale, I see the foundation investing in the dreams and ambitions of young people by helping them reach their goals and then sharing their stories to illustrate what effective Catholic Youth Ministry can achieve. Down the road, it would be nice to allow Carol’s grandchildren, my nieces, and nephews, to take over the foundation along with those young people who were positively impacted by the works of the foundation. It will give them, those youth, an opportunity to get to truly know the principles and values that Carol stood for and reap the spiritual benefits of a life lived doing so.
Chris Gordon is married to Shawn Gordon, they have four children, and live in Ave Maria, Florida. Chris is currently the director of Youth Ministry at Mary Help of Christians in Parkland, Florida. He also volunteers with Steubenville Florida and is the South Florida Area Contact for Life Teen. Additionally, he owns and operates Ave Maria Web, LLC., a Website Design, and Development company based out of Naples, Florida.
Pete Socks converted to the Catholic faith in 1996. He has been called “well connected” within the Catholic world having interviewed the likes of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Mike Aquilina, Scott Hahn, and many others. You can find his book reviews, author interviews, and weekly giveaways at his Patheos hosted blog, The Catholic Book Blogger. He also serves as a writer and Managing Editor for Catholic Stand. He brings his talents to Ave Maria Web, LLC as Content Writer. Pete is the happily married father of five working his way through life in rural PA.