Date of Birth: July 12, 1936
Date of Death: April 9, 2007
Place of Birth: Detroit, Michigan
Place of Death: Petoskey, Michigan
Woman of Valor - Eshet Chayil
From the classroom to the Coast Guard, Carol Line did it all.
Born an only child in northwest Detroit in 1936, Carol was first active in her synagogue, Adat Shalom, where she was confirmed at the age of 16 and served as an active member of her B’nai B’rith chapter.
At a time when women were expected to stay home with their children, Carol graduated from the University of Michigan in 1957 with a degree in physical therapy, then earned a master’s degree in social work from Wayne State University in 1970, in pursuit of a dual career.
Carol began her career as a physical therapist at Henry Ford and other Detroit-area hospitals. After obtaining her master's degree, she worked for Oakland Community Mental Health. She provided direct services to the physically and mentally challenged in Oakland County. During this time, the state of Michigan began sending institutionalized residents to local communities. Carol was responsible for developing homes and facilities to manage their care for the Macomb Oakland Regional Center.
Then, in 1974, Carol and her husband James moved to the Upper Peninsula in search of a quieter life. There, with a newfound determination and with the help of their new community, Carol built a garden, tended sheep, and helped to raise three children. Until that point, Carol had not lived further than three miles from her childhood home in Detroit.
But this move, and the new challenges of a rural community, did not stop Carol from doing what she loved. Until her retirement she dedicated herself to the students of the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District, serving as both social worker and physical therapist. On the side, Carol also gave piano lessons, taught Lamaze to pregnant mothers, led a Girl Scout troupe, and even became a master gardener from Michigan State University. In her daughter Rebecca Starr’s words, “She was a steward for the earth and was an environmental activist before it became popular.” Carol cared thoroughly for her plants and animals, ultimately growing enough food to feed her own family and others, which she did.
Carol’s contribution to the Jewish community--from Detroit to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario--reflected her dedication to the betterment of the individual in therapy, in the classroom, and beyond. At Beth Jacob Synagogue across the border in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (the closest synagogue to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan), Carol taught in the Hebrew school every Sunday, an inspiring experience for all the children, including her daughter. She eventually became vice president of the synagogue, but her occasion to celebrate would have to be saved for what was “one of the moments in her life that she treasured most”: becoming a Bat Mitzvah. Together with other women in the synagogue, Carol worked to achieve what could not be done only fifty years before.
And then, later in her life, Carol joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary, venturing into Michigan’s waters as an official crewmember and a firm believer in safe boating skills. Through this she helped those in need not just on land, but upon its waters, too.
In her daughter Rebecca's words, “Whenever someone talks about my mom, Carol, they always comment on how much she accomplished in her all-too-short life. She was always learning, doing, and moving herself forward with the goal of helping all of those around her. She was an exceptional person and without a doubt, she made a difference in the lives of so many: her family for sure, but beyond that, my mom truly made an impact on her community in both the Jewish and secular worlds. She was a true activist, and an inspiration to so many and she persevered with every breath she took.”
Written by Rebecca Starr and Noah Krasman