Dear friends and colleagues,
it is with deep regrets and a heavy heart that I have to tell you that Dr Carol S. Kelly has passed away last Friday.
Carol has been a member of the FICE family for more than thirty years. She has dedicated her life to children in need and has contributed so much for the developments in the field of child and youth care.
I will miss her energy and her enthusiasm and the ongoing conversation we had over the last years. My thoughts and my heart are with Carols family.
As I am failing to find the right words just now, I would like to ask you to send me a few lines about your memories of Carol, so I will be able to put together our common memories for an obituary on the FICE website that will do justice to Carol. A small person with a huge personality.
Bettina Terp, Secretary General, FICE International
Open letter to Carol Kelly
I know that you are already in Heaven and you see us all, no matter where we are – on which continent or in which country. I am sure that you see all children in the world and that you would help them if you could. Carol, I think that you have become star – a small, but very bright star, just like the one you have always been. I want to tell you that you gave us so much kindness, wisdom and confidence, that the world can become better. You were always a role model for all of us and for the younger colleagues among us. You showed us that when you have faith in young people, you have faith in the future; that being calm and tolerant is the key to solving many problems; that in order to achieve something one must work very hard and with much determination. Thank you for the lessons in Kindness, Humanism and Optimism. In my hardest moments I remember them and I am grateful that I had the chance to meet you and learn from you. I promise that we will not turn off the way – we will keep helping the weak, we will keep caring for children and young people. I am sure, that I will always feel your invisible support. Carol, from now on in my mind I will call you FAITH. For me you are faith in kindness and this faith will remain in my heart forever.
Dashenka Kraleva, Bulgaria
I was shocked to hear that you’re gone. The feeling of warmth which you gave your environment is still with me.
I will never forget the moment in Romania when I was informed with my mother’s passing, and I had to leave everything and return back to Israel. I went down the stairs, and there you were, eating your breakfast. With tearing eyes you came to me, hugged me and didn’t say a word. Your warmth shined through my heart. In a different time, in one of the parties that I don’t quite remember, I danced Tango with you. Your warmth is what made the dance so impossible to forget. Not once we sat in discussions about children & youth care, when you rised the whole world with only a few sentences. You knew how to say these things concisely and intelligently. I wasn’t a part of your daily actions, and I’m convinced
that not only with words but with actions, you revealed yourself as someone who knows how to pull, invest and shine onto others.
Not once we talked about your energy and strength, which I saw when the three of us (Jennifer from Australia, you and I) returned to the hotel in Belgarde, when you walked in front of us. This is who you were, full of good vibes.
My heart aches with your passing, with the loss of a great woman.
Rest in peace.
Yoav Appelboim, Israel
Carol. An enormous heart, an indomitable spirit, and so much love of life and people. Heart of a lion that did not stop loving when others might have faltered, that did not stop travelling to the other side of the world when doctors would probably have recommended it. Sharp-minded and wise Carol with the big joyful smile of a young girl skipping out into a sunny spring morning. Sensitive, compassionate Carol whom you could tell things you could not tell anybody else, who welcomed everybody, independent of nationality or age, with open arms, true interest and pleasure. And always, always giving her best to make the world a better place for children.Carol, you are an inspiration to us at FICE. May we nurture the legacy you have left us, the example you have given us, and the happy memories of you, always.I am deeply grateful for your presence in my life and for what we have shared. I will always feel our bond and think of you with love. I miss you, dear Carol of the lion heart and the big smile.
Anna Schmid, Switzerland
We have known Carol for many years, mainly meeting up with her about twice a year at FICE Federal Council meetings. Even at the beginning of our friendship Carol was tiny and had white hair. She could have been mistaken for a favourite grandmother, as she smiled fondly at everyone. However her physical energy and razor sharp mind were not those of an old person. She came to FICE meetings from the West Coast of America and still had the stamina to participate fully in the whole programme of activities.
Professionally she was deeply committed to keeping alive links across North America and the rest of the FICE family, because she realised the importance of networking and learning from others. She would often be the first to reach out to new members when they came to meetings and always gave her undivided attention when others were speaking. Networking is one of the main strengths of FICE and Carol was so good at this
In addition to the formal events we used to have a quiet meal together at some time during the FICE gatherings. At such times there was a sharing of professional interests, new ideas and news about our respective families. David remembers in particular a splendid sea food dinner on the Rive Gauche in Paris.
Among a host of other happy memories we have of her was the time when she rushed to join a fairground ride with Wolfgang Trede in Germany. It was a huge contraption which went up high, spun around and turned riders upside down. We stood firmly rooted below and watched in horror. Carol emerged with her eyes sparkling and that huge smile. Wolfgang looked rather pale.
We shall miss Carol and remain indebted to her for her friendliness, determination and professionalism.
David and Kathleen Lane, England
Carol was a great supporter of child and youth care workers the world over, and travelled to South Africa at least three times during our 20 years of democracy to engage with FICE SA. During these visits she shared her wealth of knowledge and practice experience with us warmly and generously. She was able to connect with child and youth care workers and social workers from all backgrounds, communicating her enthusiasm for their work, and always encouraging people to acknowledge their capacity. Her enthusiasm for the work of FICE SA, and the newly-established FICE Africa was always a spur for us to do more for vulnerable children in our countries.
An adventurous person, Carol was at home in Africa, and we feel very heart sore that she will not be with us at the first FICE Federal Council meeting to be held on the continent.
We will forward photos that we hope you will share with her family.
In sad connection with FICE friends the world over at this moment of great loss for the international child and youth care field. We have lost a tiny giant.
Merle Allsopp, South Africa
As Merle Allsopp wrote, “we’ve lost a tiny giant”.
When referring to FICE’s work for children and young people, or to particularly successful projects, like “Isibindi”, or to groundbreaking effects of international cooperation, Carol had her own favorite phrase for paying the highest possible compliment, saying “It‘s priceless beyond words”.
For us, in the FICE family, the privilege of having worked, talked, and laughed with Carol was definitely “priceless beyond words“.
In loving memory
Helga Stefanov, Austria
Helga and Merle have expressed my own sentiments regarding our dear Carol eloquently. She was small but mighty, and indeed a priceless friend and colleague to all she knew. I can hear her voice in my head, frequently… always so encouraging and positive in tone and substance. Carol will be sorely missed, but her spirit will always be present in our gatherings.
James Anglin, Canada
Such sad news. It was because of her great generosity in energy and time to share that I am part of the FICE family.
Jennifer Brooker, Australia
I am very sorry to hear that.
In the short time that I knew Carol I found her lovely and warm person my deepest sympathy is for her family.
Cate MacMillan, Australia
That is very sad news about Carol. We will miss her very much in FICE International meetings! She did a great job for children in US and all over the world by sharing her great knowledge with professionals working with children and families. She was a nice person, lived and worked with pleasure, built up a huge social and professional network. We all remember her personal touch in the contacts she had within FICE Inter. I remember her the last time in Almelo, where her health was problematic. But her ongoing strength made her come to The Netherlands where she participated in her own way in the program. Even in Amsterdam, the city she really loved, she wanted to walk on with us together till the end of the day! She did not want to miss anything. I was very happy to see her in Vienna again. She enjoyed very much the atmosphere of being together and all the professional talks about vulnerable children and families. Happy for her, it was possible to be there and meet all of us and her US friends also on this special event. It was the last time for her.
In FICE NL we think back on her with warm feelings. Wishing all the strengths to her family and friend!
Gitta Griffioen, The Netherlands
FICE NL will miss her a lot!!
This is just one nice picture of her I like to share with you:
Hanne Peerenboom, The Netherlands
We were very concerned by the departure from Carol from our world. Carol was a personality who was really interested in improving the living conditions of children who cannot grow up in their own family.
Her human image, her personal commitment and her basic attitude, which she communicated to us all, will continue the work of FICE.
Rolf Widmer, Switzerland
What a sad story. She was such an inspiration to me when ever we met.
Felix Mwale, Zambia
It is with great sadness that I receive these news. Thanks for letting us all know.
A tiny giant has left us, and I am sure each and one of you have special memories to cherish, from many occasions, conferences and meetings with Carol.
To me she became a warm hearted friend, a friendship that developed since I got to meet her first, in Maastricht in 1999.
We shared a double room several times, during the last 6-8 years, also the last time I got to see her, in Vienna last summer. I have exchanged many emails with her, talking about our common field of interest, but also about life as it developed. About her grandchildren, her little house which she moved to, my husband and Work here in Denmark.
In Vienna we had so many good laughs, sitting on our bed at night time, in our pyjamas, before going to sleep after long days at conference. Very few people are a “peoples-person” as Carol always was. She had a gift, and she used it so well. Loved and respected by many, for both her professional skills, but not least for her personality.
To be honest – I cried my eyes out earlier on. I am greatful to have known her, and she will for always be kept in the most special corner of my heart. Later on I will share some photos from Vienna, perhaps her Family would like them, too.
Karen Scott, Denmark
NENESZ would like to express our deepest condolences to Dr. Carol S. Kelly’s family.
Gősi Tamás, Hungary
The sad news about Carol’s passing struck all of us. Carol was a real humanist and her commitment for the cause of Children in need was a source of admiration for me and I’m sure to many of you. In the last years she suffered from her hurt condition and became more vigilant but didn’t want to stop her very meaningful activity in FICE International. Like many of you, I consider her as a true and sincere friend and not only a professional colleague. She was very active in two FICE committees I was leading and in both of them it was fascinating to see how she was always trying to find the proper balance between her enormous will to be involved and to contribute, and on the other hand not to take too heavy responsibilities she would have difficulties to fulfill. In the last years we discussed a lot and had long conversations about unaccompanied minors. Carol was terribly concerned with the way US authorities were treating refugee children immigrating illegally to the US. She was really ashamed of this and was active in lobbying and looking for ways to change it or influence professional people to take active steps in order to change the nature of these procedures.
Dear Carol will be missed by all of us and all her many friends in FICE Israel are joining all of you to cherish her beloved memory.
Emmanuel Grupper, Israel
That is very sad news about Dr. Carol Kelly. I had the privilege of spending time next to her during the many conferences in Romania and FICE Romania benefited from her voice of reason and moderation.
I appreciated the energy, love for children and her optimism.
Will remain in our hearts!
Rest in peace !
Toma Mares, Romania
As the curtain falls for the Icon Carol,
Her has caught everyone’s attention, It’s hard to believe,
We appreciate the honour of having known Carol as we admit that the loss is terrible for FICE, family and friends.
She galvanized the hopes and aspirations of many members inspired the sense of responsibility, she was such a brilliant analyst capable of thinking tactfully and practically.
I had the privilege of spending time next to her during the many conferences and I benefited from her voice of reason and moderation.
Carol struck consistently by how much her strength at the conferences impacted my strength back in Kenya, she gave me hopes of how many years I have ahead for the work of children at risk as I kept asking myself ….how did a person so of age simultaneously cross seas and oceans to contribute to the policies and practices in pursuit of a simple dream “the rights of children at risk?”
I remember our last email conversation…….
Friday hello Mr. Smiles. I look forward to participating in the FICE Federal Council meeting, and visiting programs. I want to go on the Safari but need to know if a jeep is used because I can’t walk long distances…yet. Thanks for letting me know, Simon. Will be wonderful to be in Kenya with you/your program/FICE.
Long distance hug,
It pains me very much because the last mail I sent to Carol was on 14th February 2017 (less than 12 Hours to the sad news)…..
Warm Greetings from Kisumu and hope this mail finds smiles on your beautiful face.
Could you kindly remind me of your arrival date.
the smiling simon.
Carol’s presence will be missed but her courage will continue to guide our efforts.
Thank you Carol for the times we shared, It’s a pity your Dream of coming to Kenya did not bear fruits and deep inside I’m bleeding.
Simon Peter, Kenya
Von Roland Stübi habe ich die Information erhalten, dass Carol Kelly verstorben ist. Mich verbinden mit Carol viele schöne Erinnerungen, in den USA, in Südafrika und an weiteren Plätzen in Europa, wo wir gemeinsam an Veranstaltungen waren. Die USA hat eine zwar vom Körperbau kleine aber geistig grosse Persönlichkeit verloren. Solche Personen, bei denen die Welt grösser ist als die USA und wo nicht einfach „America first“ gilt, fehlen diesem Land.
Ich werde Carol in bester Erinnerung behalten und bin froh, dass ich in Wien noch die Möglichkeit hatte, ein langes Gespräch mit ihr über Gott, die Welt, die USA und vor allem die Kinder und Jugendlichen zu führen.
«Bauen wir eine Welt, in der Kinder leben können» – diese Worte standen am Beginn des Kinderdorfes Pestalozzi und der FICE. Zwei Gründerinnen, Marie Meierhofer und Elisabeth Rotten, beide Mitgründerinnen der FICE, waren ähnlich wie Carol – klein, zäh und vor allem herzlich im Lebenslagen Einsatz für Kinder.
Eine Freundin und ein Vorbild hat uns verlassen. Die Welt ist ärmer geworden.
Thomas Mächler, Switzerland
This is very sad news. I spent a lot of time with Carol in Vienna. Myself and colleagues who were with me made sure that she had company from the hotel to the conference venue each and every day of the conference. She led our group in organising our breakaway session. She chaired the session and made each one of us feel that our stories from our own countries and continents were important. She did all this with so much passion and energy.
I have learnt from Carol what a leader is – a servant to others. She would go out of her way to make one comfortable. I am heart broken by this news. We will continue to cherish the good memories that Carol left behind – her work and commitment to children and love for all
May her soul rest in peace
Donald Nghonyama, South Africa
It is very sad news about Carol, which we have received from your office. We will miss her very much in all forthcoming FICE International meetings! We have met her in more than 10 FICE meetings and always she was a very nice person, lived and worked with pleasure. She built up a huge social and professional network. We all remember her personal touch in the contacts she had within FICE Inter She did a great job for children in US and all over the world by sharing her great knowledge with professionals working with children and families..
I along with my son Shuvam remember her the last time in Vienna, where we had a very good meeting for developing Children’s Network in between India and USA. She enjoyed very much the atmosphere of being together and all the professional talks about vulnerable children and families.
In FICE India, we think back on her with warm feelings. Wishing all the strengths to her family and all friends!
Malay Dewanji, India
I have no enough right words to express the feelings and deep sadness when I heard that Carol passed away.
Maybe, only I can say: Carol was the pearl …surely remember how she always glowed.
Rest in peace, beautiful soul!!!
Zeljka Burgund, Serbija
In this tragic moment of loss, my heart is heavy with grief by the new news about Carol’s passing.
When I started working for FICE International, Carol accepted me with a an open heart, a big hug and a loving smile. Ever since that moment we have been in communication on various occasions – some of them professional, some of them personal. We found out that we shared the same passion for art, especially ballet.
She encouraged and inspired me so many times. She always showed me my strengths and made me feel significant.
She was a role model for many with her amazing strength, professionalism, knowledge, wisdom, will and determination to continue her work towards achieving our common goals.
There is so much I have learned from her and I feel very lucky for knowing her. Most importantly, I have learned to live every moment to the fullest, to cherish the moments with my loved ones, to never give up and believe in myself.
Words are not enough to describe that influential and powerful woman and the footprint she has left on my mind. A great mentor, teacher, inspiration and of course – a true friend. I shall always miss her!
Katerina Simeonova, Technical Assistant of FICE International