Born under a favorable star, Carol was bequeathed by the Cosmos with a kind soul and a sweet and graceful demeanor, always putting the needs and concerns of others before her own. She traveled through life with a light and gentle touch and an enduring, steadfast compassion, with never a cross word nor a mean thought or cruel act towards anyone or anything. Universally loved and admired by those she met, she filled her life with grace, intelligence and an open-minded spirit that charmed the world she lived in. Her wonderful sense of humor, willingness to try new things, and warm generosity brought joy to those who were fortunate enough to know her. On Friday, September 9, 2022, she passed away after a brief illness from cancer. The family will be celebrating her life at a future date.
Carol was born on April 1, 1947 in Richland Center, WI to Ben and Cora Eller, the first of five children. After a magical childhood in Wisconsin, which included barrel racing on her trusted quarter horse at the local rodeo, she moved with her family to Sioux Falls during her senior year in high school and graduated from Washington Senior High in 1965. She remained in Sioux Falls for the rest of her life, with close friends and family members sharing her adventures over the years.
After working in several different occupations as a young adult, she found an opportunity at Augustana College in 1989 and remained at Augie for 30 years in various positions. She was a consummate professional and exemplary leader of her department, with a deep sense of fairness and winning demeanor that endeared her to staff and students alike. Her dedication to Augie’s mission and purpose was unparalleled, as was her inquisitive mind and enduring belief in the power of education.
She married the love of her life, Dick Gries of Sioux Falls. Although they later divorced, they remained close and Dick was always considered a dear member of the family. Their devotion to each other over the course of nearly 60 years is truly inspiring, as is the tender and loving care and support that Dick provided for Carol during her last few weeks with us on this planet.
She was the best sister anyone could ever wish for. The following people were grateful to be her siblings: Jean (and Mike) Heisler of Garretson, SD, Terry Eller (and Mike Whyte) of Boise, ID, Anita (and Dave) Peterson of Elk River, MN, and Steve Eller of Helena, MT. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews whom she loved and supported over the course of their lives. And, in return, they admired her bright spirit and effortless kindness. She will surely live on in the memories, thoughts, and actions of those who witnessed and learned from her extraordinary way of being in the world.
In lieu of flowers, her family suggests a donation in Carol’s memory to the World Central Kitchen established by Chef Andre.
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