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Dave Obee: The Christmas Carrolls and the spirit of giving

The Carrolls loved Christmas, loved spending time with family and friends, and loved giving back to their community.
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Ron Carroll reads The Night Before Christmas to his daughters ­Laureen, left, and Rhona, circa 1974. FAMILY PHOTO

They called themselves the Christmas Carrolls — and now that both Ron and Diane have passed away, it’s heartwarming to know that their spirit lives on.

As their daughter Laureen says, the Carrolls loved Christmas, loved spending time with family and friends, and loved giving back to their community.

So far this year, 11 donations totalling $985 have been made to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund in memory of Ron and Diane Carroll.

“That is what they both wanted to continue in their passing, giving back so those less fortunate could enjoy the holiday season like we always did,” ­Laureen says.

“My Mom always wanted to have the ‘big family Christmas.’ It was heartbreaking last year not to be all together for what we now know was her last Christmas.”

Ever since their daughters, Laureen and Rhona, were teenagers, Ron and Diane made it a family tradition to deliver Christmas hampers and gifts for less fortunate people, from Winnipeg to Pender Island, where the couple retired in 1993 before moving to ­Victoria in 2003.

Ron died at 77, after years of struggle with heart disease, in September 2014.

“In lieu of flowers and in memory of Ron please consider a donation to a charity close to the hearts of the Carroll family, The Times Colonist Christmas Fund,” his obituary said. Diane wanted it that way.

The fund received more than $3,000 in Ron’s memory, through 18 donations.

“We have always donated to the fund,” Diane said that year, adding that she was glad to know that so many people would be helped on behalf of her husband.

Diane, facing increasing health issues, moved to Burnaby in 2019 to be closer to her family. She died in August this year.

Her obituary in this newspaper included these words: “In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Times Colonist Christmas Fund.”

Their friends noticed, and they followed through. Ron and Diane might be gone, but their spirit of giving continues to make life better for the less fortunate in our community.

“They were absolutely an amazing team, and the most important thing to know about both Ron and Diane Carroll is how much they loved their little family and how much we all loved and appreciated them,” Laureen says.

“They absolutely made Christmas magical for us when we were kids.”

There is still time to donate to the Christmas Fund, which is designed to help those in need on the Island at Christmas and throughout the year.

Every donation matters, and every donation is in the spirit that gave so much joy to Ron and Diane Carroll.

HOW TO DONATE

Go to our fundraising page at timescolonist.com/donate; that takes you to the Canada Helps website, which is open 24 hours a day and provides an immediate tax receipt.

Mail a cheque to Times Colonist Christmas Fund, 201-655 Tyee Road, Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5.

Use your credit card by phoning 250-995-4438 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. today and Friday.

Dave Obee is editor and publisher of the Times Colonist.