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Demaris Affleck Carrell


Demaris Affleck Carrell died peacefully at the Kendal at Oberlin retirement community in Oberlin on Monday, November 19, 2018. Demmie was born to the late William Eldridge and Rheta Gray Affleck in St. Catherines, Ontario Canada on June 29, 1926. She came to the U.S. to attend Swarthmore College, where after graduation she met Jeptha Carrell, the love of her life, when they both were Assistant Deans. They were married for 59 years, living in five states, moving to Oberlin in 1979. In the later years of their marriage, she was a fierce and loving caregiver for her beloved Jep as he battled dementia, until he died in 2007.

Demmie and Jep were an amazing team, whether sharing parenting, fighting together for civil rights or working with young people to help them access higher education. In Oberlin, Demmie and Jep worked together to create and establish Kendal at Oberlin and later developed the Ninde Scholars Program.

Throughout her adult life, Demmie held a variety of jobs, in addition to being a professional volunteer. She did testing for special education students, was a ghost-speechwriter for an Ohio governor, an assistant to the director of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, in addition to working for both Swarthmore and Oberlin Colleges.

One of her greatest volunteer accomplishments occurred in Dayton, where Demmie founded a tutoring program that brought White and Black women together to work in underserved urban schools, intentionally working to build racial understanding among the adults, as well as establishing greater educational equity for school children; for this she was honored as one of Dayton's "Top Ten Women."

Demmie had a gruff exterior, a great sense of humor, and was known for nudging young folks (her own kids, grandkids and others) about their life plans, encouraging them to aspire to learn more and do more and helping to connect them to new opportunities.

Her greatest pride in life were her children, Heather, Mark, and Kim; their spouses Rick, Lyn and John; seven grandchildren; four great-grandchildren and great-grands yet-to-come. She was extremely proud of each one of them, and her greatest wish was that they all would stay connected, despite the miles between them. She is also survived by an extended family of dear friends from Dayton and Oberlin, as well as the caring staff at Kendal. Her family and friends will miss her curmudgeonly demeanor, which hid a warm, loving core. Her family asks you to remember her by flaunting a flamingo, wearing a great hat and/or encouraging silliness -- the best form of therapy for a gray winter day.

A celebration of Demmie's life will be held Saturday, February 9, 2019 at Kendal at Oberlin.

In lieu of flowers, her family suggests donations to the Kendal Employee Education Fund or The Jeptha Carrell fund in the Community Foundation of Lorain County.

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