Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Carolina D. Brandt

Carolina DiMarco Brandt died peacefully surrounded by her family in her family's Ketchum home on Aug. 4, 2007, at the age of 93, of vulvar cancer. During the last month of her illness, her granddaughter—"My Jenny"—Jenny Rose Brandt R.N., provided nursing care in the home.

Carolina was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on July 21, 1914, to immigrant parents, Rosa and Luigi DiMarco of Les Marches, Italy. Carolina was the fourth of eleven children. The close-knit family had a small farm in Staten Island. As a child, she worked on that farm and helped her father peddle their produce with a horse and wagon. She idolized her own mother, Rosa.

When she entered public school she could speak no English. Although she excelled in school and craved education, her family could not afford the trolley fare for her to attend high school. Many years later she came within nine credits of a B.A. in Italian Literature, stopping when the courses she needed were discontinued at night.

Carolina married her late husband Charles in 1939 and worked as a nurse and later a secretary while raising two children. She gave herself and her two children elocution lessons. Her dream was that her children would attend college and, thanks to her, both have post-graduate degrees.

Until she was 91, Carolina lived alone in her own apartment in Manhattan, and spent every free moment sharing the activities of her beloved granddaughter, Laura Rose Marcktell, and her great-grandchildren Pascal, Lucas and Rose Millicent. She never drove a car, and walked many miles daily. She did a self-devised floor exercise routine every day. In her 90th year, she did forward and backward somersaults like a teenager. She sewed all her clothing by hand, never wore glasses and could thread a needle. At her death, her silky black hair had only strands of gray in it. Prior to her last illness, Carolina was at work on memoirs of her early immigrant life and her and the DiMarco family's love of and appreciation for America. Carolina was an early supporter of black civil rights.

Anyone who saw her smile would never forget it, especially when she smiled at her grandson, Denis. A true Democrat, she was a lifelong Republican, and you always knew where she stood. Her wit and wisdom were legendary. Her integrity was unparalleled. Although not a regular church-goer, Carolina had a deep faith in God and said her nightly prayers on rosary beads. Her prayers were always for her devoted family who consider themselves extremely lucky.

For the last two years, as a result of her illness, Carolina split her time between her daughter Barbara's apartment in Manhattan and her son Charles's houses in Ketchum and Lewes, Delaware.

In New York, Carolina is survived by: her daughter Barbara Penna and son-in-law Gary Goldsmith of Manhattan; her grandson Denis Penna of Manhattan and New Hampshire; her granddaughter Laura Rose Marcktell and husband Danny and her three great-grandchildren Pascal, Lucas and Rose Millicent of Queens.

In Ketchum and Delaware, Carolina is survived by her son Charles Brandt and daughter-in-law Nancy Brandt; her granddaughter Jenny Rose Brandt; her grandson Tripp Wier and his fiancé Allison Crane; her granddaughter Mimi Royer and husband John and great-granddaughter Maggie.

Cremation is under the care of Wood River Chapel of Hailey. A service will be held at St. Ann's Catholic Church in Queens, N.Y. Please consider a contribution to her grandson Denis' special needs community: Plowshare Farm, 24 Whitney Rd., Greenfield, NH 03047.

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