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Published: Friday, 7/13/2012

Martha E. Carroll, 1940-2012: UT professor dedicated to needs of others

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Martha E. Carroll, an acclaimed special-education professor at the University of Toledo who continued to teach in retirement, died Tuesday in Heartland of Perrysburg from complications of leukemia. She was 72.

Ms. Carroll, of West Toledo, was able to teach at UT and at Siena Heights University in Adrian, Mich. until October.

"She was so devoted to special education and to her students," said Carol Plimpton, a longtime friend and a retired UT associate professor of physical education.

"Martha was an outstanding educator. It's amazing that through this, the number of people I have met who care about Martha, who have been students, colleagues, friends. She was so optimistic that she even ordered her [Detroit] Lions' tickets for next year and her [Toledo] Opera tickets for next year."

She retired in 1999 after 25 years at UT, where she also was a former chairman of special-education services in the College of Education. She knew as a college professor teaching teachers, she could reach thousands of children "if you can get across to your students what they need to do and what they need to do right," Ms. Plimpton said.

She learned her students' strengths and was able to advise each on specifics of further education and career. "The hallmark of her career was her relationship with her students," Ms. Plimpton said.

She received outstanding teacher and outstanding adviser awards at UT.

Born May 3, 1940, in Mount Airy, N.C., to Mary and Curtis Carroll, Ms. Carroll completed her bachelor's degree at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, from which she received an alumni Distinguished Career Award in 2008. She completed master's studies at UNC-Chapel Hill and a doctoral degree at the George Peabody College for Teachers at Vanderbilt. She taught first graders in Greensboro's public schools, and junior high special-education students at Fort Bragg, N.C. In Nome, Alaska, she taught Eskimo children with special needs.

She was on the boards of the Girl Scouts' Maumee Valley Council -- she wrote a book about including girls with special needs -- and Goodwill Industries of Northwest Ohio.

She was unmarried and had no children. On Christmas, she read to children in hospitals and served meals at soup kitchens.

She spent Thanksgivings in Detroit at the Lions' annual holiday football game. Known on a first-name basis by ushers, she often wore a silver-and-blue wig to games.

Surviving is her sister, Sallie Park.

There will be no visitation. A celebration of life will be at 3 p.m. Sunday in First Unitarian Church of Toledo on Glendale Avenue, the former home of South Toledo Baptist Church, of which Ms. Carroll was a member. Arrangements are by the Walker Funeral Home. The family suggests tributes to the Martha E. Carroll scholarship in special education at the University of North Carolina Greensboro or the Martha E. Carroll Swimming Fund at the UT Foundation.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.



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