Carol Martha (Pilling) Gregory died of cancer on Monday, May 25, 2020. “It’s my own damn fault,” she’d say, remembering the years of smoking. Her courage, spirit and humor in facing the disease never faltered.
She was born to Evelyn and John Pilling in Nassau City on Long Island on January 23, 1935, and grew up in Bloomfield, New Jersey.
Following the two years she studied at Antioch College in Ohio, she worked for New Jersey Bell as a service rep, and Northwest Airlines in the Big Apple in reservations and ticketing.In 1959,
Carol married Kimon (Kim) Gregory in the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of New York City, and five years later, when he was transferred by CBS, they moved to North Virginia. There they lived for the next twenty-three years, and Carol worked as a real estate agent, fulfilling a passion to poke about in other peoples homes, something most realtors will admit to enjoying.
Following Kim’s retirement from CBS in 1987, they moved to Erving, Massachusetts. Not content with the pokey kitchen in the 1820s Greek Revival house they had just purchased, Carol designed and had built a large kitchen with a restaurant 6-burner stove where she could pursue her love of cooking. Her friends, having tasted her biscotti and pecan tassies, can attest to her skills as a baker and her generosity in sharing.
In Erving, she became active in community organizations, almost immediately becoming involved in helping to prevent a major railroad from building over the town aquifer. She joined the Sunderland Women’s Club, the Erving Planning Board, the Erving Conservation Commission, the Erving Historical Commission, and the Friends of the Erving Public Library. More recently she joined the boards of the Montague Reporter and the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center.
As a young woman, Carol had played basketball, left-handed golf, and was a killer badminton player. As she aged, however, her back problems interfered with any sports she might have enjoyed. She taught herself to sew, and when her husband’s social obligations required her presence, she sewed her own elegant gowns. She also embroidered, knit, and cross-stitched. She sang alto in choirs, and enjoyed music, especially Gershwin and music of the ’40s and ’50s.
Her catholic tastes in reading, with the exception of those of the horror genre, encompassed many authors and styles, although her favorites were mysteries and police procedurals. She had the unusual skill of being able to read a good-sized book in one day, and come away with a perfect understanding of it, to the awe of her reading club pals. Carol loved all animals. She could become quite weepy remembering a golden retriever named Sonny who had brought her such joy, and had it been within her physical ability to walk a dog, nothing would have prevented her from having one right up until the end.
She was an Aquarian, and as such she had, by her own admission, quirky and sometimes amusing eccentricities. She had an extremely colorful vocabulary, quite awe-inspiring when she got on the subject of politics. She only needed four or five hours of sleep per night, and she was often awake when most of us were abed. She was, she said, a terrible procrastinator. If so, one can only guess that it was because she had so many interests that she was pulled in multiple directions simultaneously.
Carol became, over time, a news junkie, spending hours with Nicole Wallace and Rachel Maddow, swearing like a sailor at the perfidies in the White House, proud of her far-left leanings, never short of an opinion, always able to hit the nail right on the head. Carol made an impression. She was the sort of person one never forgets.
Kim Gregory died in February of 2017 just shy of their 58th wedding anniversary. In 2019 Carol sold the house and since then had lived in an apartment in Greenfield. She was predeceased by her sister, Joan Howe, and is survived by three nephews and a niece, Bradley Howe and his wife Linda, Jeffery Howe and his wife Sandy, Steven Howe, Katherine Howe and her husband Bradford, also a number of great nieces and nephews.
The family would also like to thank all the Hospice nurses, all the home health aides and all her very helpful friends that made it possible for her to stay in her apartment. In lieu of flowers, her family suggests donations to: Pioneer Valley Hospice & Palliative Care, Erving Public Library, Dakin Humane SocietyArrangements are under the direction of Casper Funeral Service of Boston. There will be a celebration of life for carol later in the season whenCOVID-19 restrictions ease. Check casperfuneralservices.com in about a week for a place to leave condolences and remarks.