By: Sallie VanArsdale

New residents Darlene and Dick Carroll grew up in Chicago and Pittsburgh, respectively. Upon meeting her big brother’s 1st grade teacher, Dar (short for Darlene) wanted to be a nun. This changed while attending an all-girls high school and being fixed up for every boys school dance. At age eight, Dick wanted to be a doctor and never changed his mind. He graduated from Cleveland’s John Carroll University and won his M.D. at Loyola’s Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago.

At Loyola, he also won Dar, who was working and taking classes. Married, they moved to Cleveland for Dick’s internship. Dar worked and studied at Case Western Reserve University. The Vietnam War took Dr. Carroll, now a U.S. Army Major, and Mrs. Carroll to Germany for three years. Dick was a Battalion Surgeon working on base in Friedberg, but also went “to the field” as the enlisted men were preparing for war. Dar continued classes in Frankfurt, was assigned President of the Officers’ Wives, and birthed their son, Slate, and daughter, Amber. They also were fortunate to travel extensively, oftentimes camping in or out of their elderly VW Beetle.

After this incredible experience, they moved to Durham, North Carolina, where Dick attended Duke University for his ophthalmology residency. Dar again took classes at UNC. Three years later, Dick continued his training with a fellowship in oculoplastic surgery in Houston. This time, no classes for Dar. She, Slate, and Amber enjoyed the apartment pool and Houston’s museums.

Dick began his private practice in Minneapolis/St. Paul, where he was the first fully-trained oculoplastic surgeon. From 1974 to 2010, he not only had his private practice, but was also a clinical professor at the University of Minnesota. Dar decided finally to focus and got a BS in interior design from the U of M. She opened her own Summit Designs, but eventually gave it up to volunteer. “I did my best work as a volunteer,” she remarked. She then became a docent at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and after 30 years, is now an Honorary Docent, focusing on the Prairie School Architecture.

The Carrolls chose Siesta Key for frequent visits because their son Slate moved here during college. He lives here with his wife Kellie and daughter Chelsie — the Carrolls’ much-loved, one-and-only grandchild.

How did the Carrolls find Plymouth Harbor? Daughter Amber, who works with seniors in California, located it. Both Dar and Dick liked it immediately. “More amazing, our families agreed with us — not always the case,” said Dick with a smile.

Arts and music are travel motivators for the Carrolls. Dar has also found delving into other cultures, volunteering, and adventure appealing. She has trekked in the Himalayas and climbed Kilimanjaro, while Dick has focused on opera and taken extensive bicycle trips.

The Carrolls have a home and business connections in Minneapolis, so they expect to travel north from time to time.