Pelham honors community beautifier

The City of Pelham honored the life and memory of JoAnn Carroll, a woman who never failed to see the natural beauty of the community she loved.

Carroll, the driving force behind the founding of the city’s beautification board and Christmas tree lighting ceremony, is one of six people to have their name engraved on a memorial obelisk at Pelham City Park. The obelisk reads, “In Honor of Those Who Served Our Community.”

On Sunday, Carroll’s closest friends and family formed a semicircle around the obelisk to remember the wife, mother and horticulturalist who was affectionately nicknamed “Jo Momma.” Carroll passed away last year.

“She loved this community and she could motivate people to do whatever she wanted them to do,” said Mayor Bobby Hayes. “I knew better than to say no to JoAnn. She was always pushing us to be a better city with better events.”

Carroll was also a proud member of the Chandalar Garden Club. Former Pelham Councilwoman Beverly Hall spoke of her friend’s passion for gardening. Carroll would often spend her own money to landscape the neighborhood.

“If Bert had that money, he could’ve bailed out Washington Mutual,” Hall joked to Carroll’s husband.

Neville Peacock, who spoke on behalf of the Chandalar Garden Club, moved to Pelham in 1981 and remembered how Carroll promptly took her under her wing.

“She had a childlike enthusiasm to get the most out of life everyday,” Peacock said. “She got a big bang for the buck and she lived while we had her.”

Bert and the Carroll children, Doug, Jeff and Lisa couldn’t help but smile while listening to the memories.

“Pelham was a very special community to JoAnn,” Bert said. “Our years here were very special and always will be very special as long as we have memory.”

Carroll joins memorial recipients John E. Lee III, Joseph Crockett Hodges, Frank T. Pescatore Jr., Joy Love Murphy and David W. Walters.