“I loved my friend
She went away from me
There's nothing more to say
The poem ends,
Soft as it began-
I loved my friend.”


-Langston Hughes
  • 90 years old
  • Born on July 18, 1922 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, United States.
  • Passed away on October 16, 2012 in New York, New York, United States.

Vernell Oliver, 90, born on July 18, 1922 passed away on October 16, 2012. We will remember her forever.

Verne McCarroll Oliver had dedicated her life to education, beginning with an undergraduate degree from New Jersey State University, completion of her doctoral studies at Columbia University and further work at Johns Hopkins School of International Studies, the New School for Social Research, and Bank Street College.

Ms. Oliver spent more than a dozen years as a college instructor and an Assistant Professor at Morgan State College, Central State College of Ohio and Howard University, among others. Academic publications led to high school teaching, History Department Chair, and Chair of College Guidance, all topped off as Head of the New Lincoln School (now part of Trevor Day School).

Visit www.vernelloliver.com for more about our beloved Verne.


There are no words that seem adequate enough to say thank you to everyone who expressed their sympathy for the loss of our beloved Verne Oliver. She was a wonderful person and through the memories that she gave each of us, she will live on forever in out hearts.

- The Family of Vernell McCarroll Oliver

Posted by Darrol McCarroll on 17th January 2018
My dear aunt, thinking of you with much love.
Posted by Carol Wood on 16th October 2017
Mrs. Oliver was a born teacher. When she met my daughter, then of high school age, at a reunion she instantly engaged her in conversation about her goals and interests. I miss her and appreciate these reminders of her warmth and influence.
Posted by Kelsey Lindsey on 2nd August 2016
Thinking of you my dear on this hot summer evening, enjoying a cool vodka Gimlet, reading the Sunday New York Times. and listening to Chopin. Enough Said! Love Darrolyn
Posted by Jessica Montes on 18th July 2015
Mrs. Oliver, My friend,mentor and Coworker. Everything I know, I learned from Mrs. Oliver. I worked with her putting libraries together for Catholic Schools around the city. Helping people was her passion. She was a great human being. I miss you so much. I love you, Jessica
Posted by Milton Sipp on 18th July 2015
Verne, You will never be forgotten. Your light continues to shine in all of us for whom you mentored, shaped, and inspired. I love you, my friend. Rest in peace. Milton
Posted by Christopher Horton on 16th October 2014
I live and work now in a "gateway city", and almost daily I meet and interact with immigrants from West Africa and their children. It helps tremendously for connecting and building relationships that I know something of each of their countries, enough to be an informed and caring listener, and that for over 50 years I have been following their histories as they unfold. I absolutely owe that connection to Mrs. Oliver, to the unit we did in her Core class on Africa, and the many other times she shared stories of her work and research in Africa. So thank you Verne, wherever you are.
Posted by Guendalina Aloe on 6th August 2014
riposa in pace Verne!
Posted by Jillian Lazaridis on 18th July 2014
"Verne, thank you for all you did for our children. Everything in our school library reminds us of your dedication, generosity and love. We shall never forget you. The students at Blessed Sacrament School are praying for you.
Posted by Carol Wood on 18th July 2014
Always glad to be reminded of Mrs. Oliver and how much we love and miss her.
Posted by Jillian Lazaridis on 19th August 2013
Our school library was non-existent until Verne came along. Book by book, shelf by shelf, she helped us transform a dingy book room into a state-of-the-art library that is conducive to teaching and learning. Verne, thank you for your generosity of spirit, dedication and hard work. We shall never forget you! You will always be in our prayers.
Posted by Stephen Lubell on 3rd November 2012
A truly inspiring teacher and human being. We will all miss her spirit, wit and positive approach to life!
Posted by Danny Weiss on 30th October 2012
Thank you to my principal, Verne Oliver, who took me under her wing and urged me to strive. She was a great educator and mentor. She touched the lives of many and left her mark. She will be missed. NLS '80.
Posted by Miriam Miranda-Jurado on 27th October 2012
Mrs. Oliver was an educator of educators. She challenged the intellect, inspired the heart, and upheld the spirit even in the most challenging of times. Her grace and warmth were and remain an inspiration. May she rest in peace, (NLS class of '67).
Posted by Jason Saris on 24th October 2012
Verne touched us and tought us in a way that can only be be done by some one who loved us. I know we all loved her also.
Posted by Jason Saris on 24th October 2012
Verne connected with her students in a way that only someone with a heart full of love could. She was awesome in some many ways. We were so lucky to have had her as our educator, friend and to have had her in our lives.
Posted by Grace Lucie on 23rd October 2012
I was blessed to have worked with Verne at Holy Spirit School. She was a wonderful and caring person. She spent many hours in our little library fixing and organizing. I though that she was remarkable- that at the age of 85 - she was still working to help students to experience the wonderful world of books. May God's light shine upon you, dear Verne. You will be missed
Posted by Maureen Barry on 23rd October 2012
The Headmaster, Trustees and entire Saint David's community mourn the passing of a dear friend and former Trustee, Verne Oliver. Verne's tremendous support and dedication to the School for many years is truly appreciated. Our prayers are with her family.
Posted by Lynn Livingston on 22nd October 2012
Bob and I attended Verne's memorial service today, sharing heartfelt memories of what a remarkable teacher she was. Talking with many of our former New Lincoln students, we were struck by how many have pursued lives of service to others or in creative fields. We both feel lucky to have worked with inspiring leaders like Verne Oliver and Arthur Swan, who made New Lincoln so special.
Posted by Josephine Fanelli on 22nd October 2012
Verne Oliver was a remarkable woman. I enjoyed our conversations, she captured my attention with her stories and her knowledge. She transformed our empty storage room into a beautiful library, a room filled with mystery, adventure,and knowledge. The students and I are most grateful to her for this gift...she will always be remembered.
Posted by Emily Kolker on 22nd October 2012
Sorry I had to leave before saying goodbye to my friends and teachers from NLS. I loved seeing you. It was a beautiful memorial service. We will all miss Mrs. O!
Posted by Tracey Bennett on 22nd October 2012
I would like to one day be able to say that I too reached as many lives as Vernell Oliver. Her accomplishments are vast, and her love for education spread far and wide. I wish I had the chance to sit and speak with her. I will look up her books and learn more about her vision. It is educators like her that demonstrate that her talent was priceless.
Posted by Annabelle Prager on 22nd October 2012
As the founder of the InterSchool Orchestras of New York, I was stricken to hear the sad news about our wonderful former Board member, Verne. Only short notice keeps me from being with you today to extend sympathy to her family and share memories with all those who loved and respected her. Her understanding of the needs of children and their schools was unparalleled.
Posted by Richard Feldman on 22nd October 2012
She was an inspired teacher and person. She continues to inspire me in my work.
Posted by Nancy Lambert on 22nd October 2012
She was my teacher, guidance counselor, and mentor. But most of all she was an inspiration. You always wanted to do your best for her because she cared so much. That lesson, to be the best that you could be, has followed me forever. Her loss is a loss to all who were touched by her. Nancy Lambert (NLS '64).
Posted by Waddy Thompson on 22nd October 2012
The Board and Staff of InterSchool Orchestras of New York sends their sincere condolences on the loss of Verne Oliver, former Board member and wonderful supporter of education for New York City's children.
Posted by Kate Blacklock on 22nd October 2012
The fact that I can so clearly hear her voice today, see her smile, remember the way she made me feel cared about, while at the same time slightly scared of, 40 years later is testament to the huge impression she made on my life. She was both the Guide of my education and the caring mother of a dear friend lost way too soon. NLS '75 Kakie
Posted by Dorothy Valla on 22nd October 2012
All of us at Corpus Christi School in Manhattan are grateful to Verne Oliver for renewing our school library. Her wisdom and thoughtfulness will be long remembered. We shall miss our good friend very much!
Posted by WILLIAM SAGER on 22nd October 2012
Verne- You were patient and caring. You listened when others didnt during a special time in my life at New Lincoln. You helped give me the confidence I needed in High School and prepared me for college. You are already missed and will be missed in my heart forever. Thank you!
Posted by Rich Meller on 22nd October 2012
Thank you so much for your love of children and your vision that reading will open all of the doors to their future. God Bless You! All of our gratitude from St. Helena School.
Posted by Kathy Riecks on 22nd October 2012
Verne was such an inspiration to me! She had so much energy and traveled to so many places to sit and transform libraries from dusty rooms with books to places of adventure and beauty! I will always remember her!
Posted by Maggie Seligman on 22nd October 2012
Verne made an immeasurable difference in this world. You can't ask for more from anyone--to leave the world changed because of his/her presence. This is what is meant by the word "indelible." Her devotion to others, powerful intellect, huge heart, and inspirational presence are models for us all. I hope she always felt our love come back to her as she gave hers freely to us. (NLS'68)
Posted by Robert Heckmann on 22nd October 2012
I have been blessed to know Verne in my life. She was a mentor to me in developing St. Ray's H.S. for Boys library. It is better today because of her input and advice in making us a 21st C library. She is a LaSallian Awardee and will be remembered in our FAMILY prayers. She will be missed and we are thankful for her generosity to our school.
Posted by David Bloomfield on 22nd October 2012
I will miss my friend, mentor, and colleague.
Posted by Rocco Martz on 22nd October 2012
"Verne Oliver has given the gift of reading to so many children by opening school libraries,her passion for reading and helping children will be missed. I remember many conversatiions that will stay with me forever she was truly a champion."
Posted by Dan Starer on 21st October 2012
Verne was a strong influence on my life. She was one of my most inspiring teachers, introduced me to the college I attended, and hired me as a teacher at NLS after my graduation. Verne brought out the best in people. She set high standards and motivated all around her to aspire to those standards. We will all miss her. NLS '73
Posted by Rebecca Eddy on 21st October 2012
Verne Oliver was the continuity of New Lincoln long after New Lincoln ceased to exist. She cared about each of us and kept in touch. As the class of '69 worked to put together a 40th class reunion, Mrs. Oliver contributed her knowledge of our classmates, where they were and how to contact them. We could always count on her to be present at reunions. She will be missed.
Posted by Bernice Belth on 21st October 2012
I am from the class of '61. We were lucky enough to have Verne, "Mrs. Oliver" for both 10th and 12th grades. Since then I have gone on to do extensive graduate and post graduate studies and Verne remains the most dynamic, talented, the quintessential teacher in my experience. All others are measured, and fall short of her talent for infusing excitement into our learning.
Posted by Amy Bowllan on 21st October 2012
An interview with Verne at School Library Journal. NOT SLOWING DOWN. http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6464288.html
Posted by Julie Liss on 21st October 2012
I have such clear memories of Mrs. Oliver: her laugh, her penetrating look with glasses perched on her nose. She set an example of intelligence, strength and compassion and let us know that it was possible to embody all of those qualities together. As an educator, I often think of what a gift it was to go to New Lincoln. I hope her family knows how much she meant to us. Julie L. NLS 1974
Posted by Carol Wood on 21st October 2012
Verne was an inspiration to all of us. Her life has been a shining example of love in action. Thanks to her family for including her students in this page and letting us feel part of her extended family, and to everyone for sharing precious memories and gorgeous photos. I'm sure we will all be there in spirit at her Memorial on October 22. Carol Gordon Wood, NLS 63
Posted by Moira Boyd on 21st October 2012
I was wee when Verne enthralled me with Black elegance. Smart she was, trendy she was, confident she was, and busy, she was. She was, for this wee one, something to steal glances at and take note of. I never knew her but having such grandeur to gaze upon, for wee ones, wee Black ones, was serendipitously valuable to a life. Moira Boyd NLS
Posted by Miranda Hentoff on 20th October 2012
I always looked forward to getting 'sent to the principal's office'. Verne would make cinnamon toast as we talked about what brought me to her warm, sun-drenched office overlooking the park. NLS was home to me, and Verne was like a mother. She personified integrity, elegance, self-respect and excellence. But what I'll always remember most was her infinite kindness. She affected so many.
Posted by David Oppenheimer on 20th October 2012
Verne was an inspiring teacher for so many of us, and so many of her former students were inspired by her to, in turn, become teachers. David Oppenheimer -- NLS '68
Posted by Jerome Castle on 20th October 2012
Verne Oliver, a dear friend of many decades will be sorely missed. She always sparkled like a diamond in a pail of rhinestones. Jerome Lawrence Castle
Posted by Joseph Levenstein on 20th October 2012
Verne was my teacher in my senior year at New Lincoln (66-67). I have always been inspired by her wisdom and her humanity. Her memory will always be a blessing to all of us who knew her.
Posted by Edward Rocklin on 20th October 2012
Verne Oliver was a magnificent teacher and a magnificent human being, and she profoundly influenced my life, including serving as an inspiration when I became a teacher myself. A photograph of Verne is the last thing I see when I leave my office to go to class, and the first thing students see when they come to visit. It will remain a blessing to have known her. Edward Rocklin, NLS 1966
Posted by Maria Rodriguez on 20th October 2012
Part 3 Mrs Oliver really was our Gramms, (Cynthia, Darius and Phyllis). She was a true angel in disguise with her cane marching through Harlem, USA. You'll be dearly missed by many. I already do.
Posted by Maria Rodriguez on 20th October 2012
Part 2 She cared for us, our children and our community. I am honored to have had her in my life. Even now can can still hear her voice."There's no such thing as can't." or "Your head is more than a hat rack!" I can go on and on.
Posted by Maria Rodriguez on 20th October 2012
My Mrs O. She's seen it all, from the Time of Depression, The Civil Movement, to our 1st Black President. She made us see through her eyes that things weren't as tough when we didn't believe. She gave me a job. She made me read books. Yes, made! She was NOT having it, plus there was no way she'd let you out of it. She put me in school. Who on earth does that?! She did and was proud for it.
Posted by Lofton Moore on 20th October 2012
We the Board of The Barnard School Foundation are very saddened to learn of our colleague's passing. Verne was an active and dedicated Board member with a wealth of knowledge and experience in private schools, and that she shared to everyone's benefit. We will truly miss her. Lofton Moore, Secretary, The Barnard School Foundation

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