ForeverMissed

"We can no longer just take what we want from the ocean, cut down forests indiscriminately, and keep heating up the planet. We will need to find tools that are elegant and targeted and innovative.

We need to invent the bow and arrow for our own time.” -Frank Carroll

Frank Carroll, Class of 1966, Outstanding Achievement in Environmental Management and Development, International humanitarian and advocate for environmental health.
Frank made this speech for the 2003 Hall of Distinction Induction, at the Fayetteville-Manlius High School Auditorium. It reflects his values, his grace with language, his sense of adventure, and his deep belief that we can solve the problems of the world we live in. 


Many years ago, I sat in this auditorium during commencement activities and wondered what I was going to do with my life. Above all, I had the supreme benefit of loving parents who encouraged my independent thinking and honored my personal choices, however wacky they were. And like many of you, I had also lucked into the good fortune of being bestowed with the benefit of a quality education in this ardently supportive environment, in a beautiful setting moreover, here at F-M.

This school, the memories of which I cherish, has demonstrated its continuing commitment to that legacy with an incredible growth of education resources since that time that I was in the place you are today.

At that time, over 35 years ago, my parents had already given me a most valuable gift. To paraphrase the words of a Vietnamese poet I recently met, I was afforded the opportunity to look beyond the bend in the river of my village and personally see across the ocean where people different from me lived. Well, that led to college on the west coast and a year studying in Europe (which helped inform—but didn’t cure—my naivete.) (I’ll leave out the sordid details.)

Coming of age in the peace movement during the American War in Vietnam—that’s what the Vietnamese call it—and I’d like to just say that it always intrigued me how the Vietnamese people felt about Americans. As my friend Thieu said: Well, we were occupied by China for 1000 years, by France for 100, so what is the big deal if the Americans were here only for 10? To return to my story, in the face of that war, my soul sought healing and found it through the opportunity to study environmentalscience.

Through friends in college, I came to meet a wide assortment of interesting characters from developing countries, some of whom I had the opportunity to work with in remote yet fascinating settings organized around the vitality of local communities. These communities were working to enhance their quality of life by developing, conserving and renewing endogenous resources—those assets generated from within the reach of the community.

And because of that exchange of resources between the environment and the people who inhabit it is something I believe is vitally important to our well being, this is the career I have followed. It’s taken me, and keeps taking me, around many bends in the river. For those that choose to follow that path—and I hope some of you will—you’ll be called on to use not just the skills you learn in books and the classroom, but your imagination, your determination, your sense of humor, and sometimes your survival skills.

I’ve worked—often in health and water resources—in Nepal, Morocco, Malawi, and Iran to name a few. Usually, I’ve had to adapt. In Guinea a couple of years ago, I went off the beaten track to get information on the pattern of refugees flowing in from neighboring and war-torn Sierra Leone. There were very few ways to communicate with my colleagues in the city and finally even those didn’t work. I was isolated and left to figure out for myself what needed to be done. But on my birthday there, I was treated to a concert by a village marching band, with local instruments and an electronic speaker—that while it wasn’t hooked up because there was no electricity—was nonetheless carried proudly over their heads.

More recently—after the post-9/11 war in Afghanistan, I helped co-ordinate the shipments of food to hungry Afghanis. There, the challenges were not just getting food to people along incredibly complex routes, but negotiating the politics of “spin”—in other words, deciding between telling people what you know and what they want to hear. 

One of the great rewards of this kind of work, as I mentioned before, is the new perspectives you gain from the people you meet—new ways of thinking about how to see the world and how to solve problems.

One project I did some years ago was with the Masai—whom you probably know as the tall, nomadic, warrior people of East Africa. Their traditional ways of taking their herds with them while they followed the waterholes from season to season weren’t working any more. One of the problems was that their bigger neighbor tribes were encroaching on them and forcing them off their traditional lands. 

One day, I was driving down a bumpy road with a Masai man I worked with, and he was showing me this area and talking about the threat from other tribes. He looked at my thoughtfully and said: “Well, our neighbors are many more in number and they are strong—they have many spears. But, on the other hand, we have a secret weapon.”

“What’s that?” I asked him. He turned to me and said almost in a whisper, “We have the bow and arrow.”

Now I think this fellow was on to something. As we move on to solve the many environmental problems facing us—which really are the problems of how we best use the resources we have—those crude spears won’t do any more. We can no longer just take what we want from the ocean, cut down forests indiscriminately, and keep heating up the planet. We will need to find tools that are elegant and targeted and innovative.

We need to invent the bow and arrow for our own time.

Here are just a couple examples of this kind of innovation. In San Francisco, where I live now, they are designing ways to harness the energy from the tides in the neck of the Golden Gate. In a little town in northern California called Arcata, they constructed a sewage treatment wetland that is also a beautiful recreational area and a wildlife habitat—and that example is being copied in many places around the world. There are many more ways creative minds are solving problems. 

Even if you decide not to become a scientist or an engineer or a professional environmentalist, you need to be a thinker and a participant. To go back to the Masai again, we helped find them a new, more stable source of water, but that solution brought other challenges. If you have water in one place, you don’t have to wander, and you can grow crops year round. But growing crops and staying in one place brought up the problem of land ownership—something they’d never thought about before. And now they needed more community participation to solve all these problems—beyond their traditional tribal councils. But they are figuring in out. They had town meetings. They presented their differing views. They made decisions together. 

Now, the way you participate in our technologically advanced society may be very different—but it’s just as important to make your individual voices and your values heard.

One way to start right now is to get involved in a local watershed group. If you can’t find one, start one. One of the classes here at F-M has begun to look at and study your local watershed, the Oneida watershed. I’ll refer you to the teacher, Ms. Sajnew for more information. You can rest assured that you will have compatriots with whom to share your ideas and experiences all over the world.

So I’ll leave you with this thought—slightly paraphrased—not from a scientist but from an artist (Paul Klee, I think)—

“The mother of the arrow is the thought: How can I expand my reach?”

Good luck to you all. 
Posted by Janet Sonntag on August 13, 2020
From Cheryl Vermilya
"How sweet of you" will always be the key sentence that I'll always remember. He was always so sweet and helpful.
Oh! sports/outdoor-nature activities. Restaurants--buffets especially Indian, Easter meals, big sandwiches and beer. . .Frank loved good food and he could eat.
It was my sincere pleasure to serve him and David over the years. I am proud of David (and me too) of how we stepped up to help him and include him as his mind diminished. We felt it a privilege. So I'll miss him and I'll cry that another good person has left this earth.
Posted by Ellen Land-Weber on August 11, 2020
l crossed paths with Frank numerous times over the years when he came to Arcata with Janet to visit her many family members who then lived here. Janet always graciously invited me into her family circle in which Frank was a firmly entrenched member. As noted by others, Frank was a delightful person with a fine education and amazing work history that took him on adventures in third world countries, in the service of others. I loved hearing his stories.

He usually didn't have a lot of time to hang out with us, though, because he needed to practice baseball. He stayed super fit and ready to play well past the age most people could do so, always with a twinkle in his eye. That is how I will remember him
Posted by Lee Carroll on August 7, 2020
Iloved my little brother very much.We all will miss him very much.


                                            Lee,Jackie,Keri,Dee,Jaimie
Posted by Cynthia Gross on August 3, 2020
As Carol so aptly stated, I am sorry to have missed knowing Frank. What a tremendous spirit he so generously shared with so many people and places. How blessed you are, Janet, to have known that spirit and to have shared many adventures and accomplishments with this special man.
Posted by Robert White on August 2, 2020
Frank and I both shared an interest in technology and international development and enjoyed talking about some of the projects we had seen and worked in around the world--especially the failures! I read his well researched dissertation on energy and agriculture in Egypt that earned him his Ph.D. at UC Berkeley. His passing is a loss for the development community, and all of us will miss him.

My fondest memory is of Frank taking a nap on our couch in front of the fireplace one Christmas with our little toy poodle, Coco, curled up at his feet. They loved each other! Frank had a special way with animals.

Bob
Posted by Gregory Mann on August 2, 2020
So sorry to hear about Frank. He was one smart cookie! I first got to know Frank in Little League baseball, but, not until high school baseball did his baseball talents truly emerge. Our Varsity team in 1966 was, perhaps, the second best team in Fayetteville-Manlius history, much of which could be attributed to Frank. Our team finished the season with a 12-2 record, losing twice to North Syracuse by the slimmest of margins. It just so happened that North Syracuse was # 1 in New York State and amidst a 93 game winning streak. Frank was a really good guy and will be missed by all that knew him.
He certainly left his mark on our world. Sincere condolences to the family.
Posted by Concetta Sava-Cerny on August 1, 2020
I choose to remember Frank like he was before this unforgivable illness, this ultimate injustice, fell upon him. Therefore I go back to the happy parties when you could count on Frank to bring ratatouille, to the Shakespeare festival in Santa Cruz, to his recounts of Egypt, to his love of my friend Janet. The humour and wit they were able to spark together is unforgettable.
Janet, I hope you find solace in those memories. My heart goes out to you as I intuit the magnitude of your loss. Love
Posted by Penrose Jackson on July 30, 2020
I knew Frank "by sight" in high school and in thinking back about those impressions through the fog of time, the only word that came to mind was "eternal." There was a centeredness in him that hinted at eternity. How, then, unsurprising it was to read his remarks from 2003. His life's tracks will, I believe, exist for a long, long time ...
Posted by Yanneka De La Mater on July 29, 2020
Dear Frank, our sweet, compassionate and brilliant prince!

What sadness to be struck by an early, debilitating disease, and to pass away suddenly at a relatively young age!

You had much to offer the world and contributed a lot while you could, and even in your recent, progressive condition, your kindness towards all creatures, furry, feathery and other, and your sense of fun and humour shone through. I loved interacting with you. We found meaningful interaction in unconventional ways, tapping into a less trodden, timeless layer. You touched me deeply, and I grieve your flight from our world.

I remain bewildered at life passing us by so quickly, and soon enough leaving no trace. Yet, yours was a life well-lived, bequeathing a benevolent imprint on those treading the earth in many remote corners you left in better shape than when you came. You are a model of humanity for all of us. And, on a personal level, you remain a bodhisattva imbedded in my heart.

Such an old, kind soul! I wish so much you were still with us, unscathed by the unforgiving illness, enjoying the twilight of your years. I shall remember your lively, all-encompassing and immediate, kind eyes, where keen humour and compassion befriended each other and upheld your temple.

Dear Frank, our loving prince!
You etched a soft, deep, intangible, yet indelible mark in our lives.
With gratitude and sad awe,
from a soul to a soul,
Yanneka
Posted by Carol Williford on July 28, 2020
I'm sorry I never knew Frank before the illness struck. From what I read here and stories from Janet he was an intelligent, gentle, warm, caring being with deep concern for his fellow humans and this planet we inhabit
My heart hurts for Janet.
This world has lost a treasure.
Posted by Rosa Goldman on July 28, 2020
I will miss sweert frank. he loved Nature and animals and was a gentle joy to be around. he helped m3 get my beloved cat Asha. i will miss u sweetie! rosa goldman
Posted by Rosa Goldman on July 28, 2020
It was wonderful hanging out with gentle Frank who loved Nature and animals. He helped me get my beloved cat daughter Asha which i am eternally gratetful for. when i visited hm in his abole a year ago he was still smiling and i know remembered me. bye, sweetie. rosa goldman
Posted by Nina Council on July 27, 2020
I am so sorry to hear that my dear freind Janethas lost her love,  dear Frank. i met him only several times, but felt him to be a knowledgeable, intelligent, curious, life love man.  He showed me real kindness involved in a few social events.  i see that many respected, and cared for this man, he will be missed by many.   Nina Council, Ashland Oregon
Posted by Camilla Daniels on July 27, 2020
As Wayne Woodrow"Woody" Hayes said, "You can only pay forward."
Frank spent a lifetime doing that. Thank you.
Posted by Andrew Washo on July 27, 2020
SO SORRY TO HEAR ABOUT FRANKS PASSING , DIDNT KNOW HIM REAL WELL BUT WAS A GOOD PERSON, DREW
Posted by Andrew Washo on July 27, 2020
will miss you , time passes so very fast , DREW WASHO
Posted by Nancy White on July 27, 2020
I knew Frank through high school and got to know him better the year of our 20th reunion. He was always one of the smartest people I've known, caring, helpful and always curious and learning. Frank made the world a better place in so many ways. He devoted his life to this. Rest in peace, Frank. Nancy
Posted by Ann Breihan on July 27, 2020
Wonderful that his life was so well lived!
Ann Whitney Breihan
Posted by Janet Sonntag on July 23, 2020
From Christopher Perry
I think of each of you and the picture that comes to mind is from 1966, and so it is with Frank. Great smile, funny and good at everything. He was sure glad to leave Manlius Military Academy, if memory serves me correctly, and join our class. Frank was bright, accomplished and lots of fun. I remember when I saw him maybe a year after graduation and he had bought a hearse to ride around in...beat rent! I wish I knew more about his career, but the types of accomplishments spelled good things for many people. What a blessing to say about a person. Frank, I enjoyed talking to you two reunions ago, and will miss you.
Requiescat in pace.

– Chris

J.Christopher Perry, MPH, MD
Professor of Psychiatry, McGill University, and
Director of Psychotherapy Research
Institute of Community & Family Psychiatry
Jewish General Hospital
4333 Chemin de la cote Ste-Catherine
Montreal, QC H3T 1E4, Canada
Immediate Past President, Society for Psychotherapy Research
Ph: (1) 514 340-8222 ext 24643
fax (1) 514 340-8124
US Office: 7 North St., Suite #302
Pittsfield, MA, USA ph: (1) 413 442-6100
Posted by Janet Sonntag on July 23, 2020
Sorry to hear about Frank - he was in a tough spot. My thoughts go all the way back to FM Little League. There were only 3 10 year olds that made the Major League, Dick Shanahan, Frank Carroll and me. Frank and I were on the same team.
He's in a better place now.
Duncan Hamilton
Posted by Janet Sonntag on July 21, 2020
From Ana Cruz
We are so sorry to hear that Frank no longer is with us! Tears came to Teresa’s eyes and her nose turned red. She was emotional for a few moments. I am glad to know you were close to him his last days, and I can´t help but think how soothing and comforting that was to him. I understand how much Frank meant to you, and I am sure he was very happy with you as you were with him. I still remember the first time I met both of you, over dinner in a nice restaurant in San Francisco, in 2009, also with aunt Ruth. He looked so smart then, had an intelligent and fun conversation and he was very kind to me. He was a fun person to be with. I also remember how funny and sweet he was to Teresa and that she liked to hang around him. They got along well!

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Janet Sonntag on August 13, 2020
From Cheryl Vermilya
"How sweet of you" will always be the key sentence that I'll always remember. He was always so sweet and helpful.
Oh! sports/outdoor-nature activities. Restaurants--buffets especially Indian, Easter meals, big sandwiches and beer. . .Frank loved good food and he could eat.
It was my sincere pleasure to serve him and David over the years. I am proud of David (and me too) of how we stepped up to help him and include him as his mind diminished. We felt it a privilege. So I'll miss him and I'll cry that another good person has left this earth.
Posted by Ellen Land-Weber on August 11, 2020
l crossed paths with Frank numerous times over the years when he came to Arcata with Janet to visit her many family members who then lived here. Janet always graciously invited me into her family circle in which Frank was a firmly entrenched member. As noted by others, Frank was a delightful person with a fine education and amazing work history that took him on adventures in third world countries, in the service of others. I loved hearing his stories.

He usually didn't have a lot of time to hang out with us, though, because he needed to practice baseball. He stayed super fit and ready to play well past the age most people could do so, always with a twinkle in his eye. That is how I will remember him
Posted by Lee Carroll on August 7, 2020
Iloved my little brother very much.We all will miss him very much.


                                            Lee,Jackie,Keri,Dee,Jaimie
his Life

Frank Patrick Carroll 1948 -2020

"Baseball's been very very good to me."

Francis (Frank) Patrick Carroll left this world on July 13, 2020 after a long illness. A resident of Ashland, Oregon since 2015, he lived and worked in many places around the world in his work as a water development specialist and environmental engineer in developing countries, including Iran, Egypt and sub-Saharan Africa.Frank was born in Queens, New York in 1948, the son of Adele and Frank Carroll. With his father, he was a fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers and developed a lifelong passion for baseball. He was a talented player himself in national adult leagues.Every year he looked forward to attending the league’s world series in Phoenix, Arizona.

Frank was a brilliant and popular student. He attended high school in Fayetteville, New York, where he was a thespian, athlete and class officer, and remained close friends with his graduating class of 1966 throughout the decades. He was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Stanford University, and earned a Ph.D. in Energy and Resources from the University of California at Berkeley. He settled in Berkeley, where he bought and renovated a 1906 house where he lived for most of his adult life.

Frank was a fun-filled and generous man who loved life, his friends and family, and his partner of 30 years, Janet Sonntag, a writer and editor. Their adventures together were many, from scooter cycling through rainstorms in Vietnam to voyaging in a felluca up the Nile River. In Ashland, they bought a house by a pond and created a beautiful garden and haven for their three pet cats. They met in 1990 when Janet answered an ad for a pet sitter for Frank’s dog Piglet and cat Flake, talked for four hours and Frank cut a yellow rose from a bush in his garden to give to her.Throughout his life, Frank was a passionate advocate for animals.

In addition to his life partner, Janet, Frank is survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Lee and Jackie Carroll of Kirkville, New York, and their children, Frank's nieces Keri White and Deedra Galarneau and nephew Jamie Carroll.


(Donations in his name can be made to The Alzheimer’s Association, The Humane Society , ASPCA, the World Wildlife Fund, or similar organizations.)


Recent stories

From Cheryl Vermilya, with David Vermilya, Frank's good friends in upstate New York

Shared by Janet Sonntag on August 13, 2020
I've known Frank since the early 1970's; we loved he kept a good and lasting connection with us. His visits every year from California to his mom's often found our house as his base camp. One year we loaned him this clunker orange pinto to get around. I'll always hear him coming down the road--sounded like a lawn mower.

I cried and feel today quite mellow and reflective of the loss--Bruce, David, and Frank.  



The kindest soul...

Shared by Sam Sonntag on August 5, 2020
I knew Frank well. He was part of our family as my sister, Janet's lifelong partner. We spent many Thanksgivings and Christmases together, and lots of visits in-between. Always late, never hurried. Always brilliant, never silent. Always funny, never letting an adventure slip by.  And whether he was late, in endless conversation, or acting dangerously goofy (like the time he tried acrobatics while riding a bike in Arcata), he was ALWAYS kind. He was the kindest person I have ever met, whether to us, to our daughter (who loved his bike acrobatics!), to my mother (he cried more than the rest of us when we scattered her ashes), or to the love of his life, my sister (even if he didn't always get her Christmas present right). But most of all, it was in the special relationship he had with animals that his kind heart glowed most brilliantly. From his own Piglet (who wasn't, we all must admit, the cutest of dogs), to Janet's Mr. Boo, to my mother's and then our toy poodle, Coco, Frank communed with them as their soul mates. He showed us all how to be selfless and loving and caring, and we will miss him greatly..   

Long, Good Years Connecting

Shared by Lois Vermilya on August 1, 2020
I write this to celebrate David and Frank’s lifetime of mutual adventures and love shared through enduring friendship. I also hold close to heart my own good memories with Frank over these same 50-some years.

Frank and David had a bond that simply appreciated being with each other. Over the past stretch of time when Frank was back in CNY, they thrived as 2 goofy guys enjoying softball, nature, musical events, conversation, and so many adventures with Town Shop teens. Frank always would volunteer to help with field trips and come along with David, enjoying conversation with young people. I also loved watching how Frank would enchant our parents with stories from his global travels. He always was present and attuned to others, fostering inquiry about ideas which was just so much fun and mutually engaging. I would look him up when I was in the Bay Area for work, enjoying many a great meal and stimulating conversation, always.  

Lenny and I still remember fondly meeting Frank and Janet at Canyon de Chelley for a camping trip when our kids were young. Frank had picked a high spot slightly off the grid of the designated places in the park.... which was beautiful until torrential rains in the night turned our campsite into an island with rushing water on all sides as the arroyos ran ferociously. When morning arrived, we were stranded and it was dangerous. The park rangers came to rescue Owen and Alana with pontoon-3 wheelers because it was just too unsafe to cross to the parking area with a 5 and 2 year old. We spent the rest of the day at a motel drying out our gear, laughing and still enjoying the beautiful park. This story of course now lives on in our family lore, — and touches back out to you Janet as you now let your beloved Frank go. I think you may have visited our house here in N.M. once too. We send our love to you as you grieve and are buoyed by so many who knew and loved Frank, including us.

Frank was a kind, generous, inquisitive, dedicated global activist who leaves a mark in so many good deeds done. I feel blessed that David, Lenny and I shared time with you - dear friend!