BURLINGTON -- Ten days ago, Gerda Carroll was drinking wine and eating seafood at a waterfront restaurant in Burlington, laughing with friends and refusing to allow the dark cloud of illness shadow her joyous life. After bringing so much laughter and irreverence to us all, she died at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, May 14, 2014.

Gerda's life was both that of a survivor, and one who lived in the moment. She was a child who witnessed the firestorm of Dresden, Germany, but was guided by visions of angels to safety. In the stark aftermath of World War II, she was a little girl who gratefully ate her grandmother's gastronomy of rutabaga rations and nothing else, but still played outside with vigor and trusted God wholeheartedly. As a child who relocated to Brazil with her missionary father and the rest of the family, she lived in a glass tree house amidst a jungle full of wild food and heartful friends. Gerda grew up there, but the family relocated to North America, and so she found a new life as a young lady in Canada, ultimately resettling into solid career in the United States. 

After the birth of her two girls, and upon finding her great love, Jim, she spent life working and sailing on Lake Champlain, boating the Intercoastal Waterway, and wintering in Panama City, Fla. Life on the water connected her to a special pod of dolphins that would follow her in her travels, and she was one of the few who saw Champ first-hand. She could see things the rest of us overlook. Gerda's world was full of people, parties, travel and joy. She left us all a bit happier and much more inspired in our own lives. Then, she went to join Jim. She was a gift.

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