Carroll Eloise Robbins Jones, 79, of Wilmington, died on September
22, 2013, at the Lower Cape Fear Hospice and Life Care Center after a
lengthy illness. She was born on April 28, 1934, in the British Hospital
in Shanghai, China, to Mary Patricia O'Meara Robbins of Los Angeles,
Calif., and U.S. Navy officer Berton Aldrich Robbins, Jr., of Malden,
Mass., who was stationed in North China on ships of the Asiatic Fleet.
Carroll is survived by her husband of 54 years, Captain Wilbur D. Jones,
Jr., USNR (Ret.), of the home, three children, two granddaughters, two
step-grandsons, and one great-grandson: Patricia Elizabeth Jones
Jacobson (Willard), of Euless, Tex.,; W. David Jones III, of
Summerville, S. C.; and Andrew Robbins Jones (Kimberly and granddaughter
Elizabeth O'Meara Jones, and PFC Christopher Barnett, USMC, and Cameron
Barnett), of Raleigh, N. C. Also, granddaughter Carroll (Carrie)
Elizabeth Jones Vaughan (Matthew and great-grandson Brooks Robbins
Vaughan), whom they raised, of Holly Springs, N. C. Predeceasing Carroll
were her mother and father, a retired Rear Admiral, and only sibling,
Commander Berton A. Robbins, III, USN (Ret.).
By age four, Carroll had traveled more than 34,000 miles in the United States, Orient, and Pacific, including to China, Japan, the Philippines, French Indo China, and Vladivostok in the Soviet Union where she was baptized in a Catholic church. The family lived in Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii on December 7, 1941, where she witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor leading to the bombing of her father's ship, the destroyer USS Shaw. She accompanied her mother, a well-known professional photographer credentialed by the military and Associated Press, as she took photos of the aftermath. She spent 1942-51 in Los Angeles among her O'Meara relatives and attended Marymount School. Because of family business and social connections, and mother's photojournalist career, she grew up during the Golden Age of Hollywood with the children of California business leaders and movie stars, such as Christina Crawford, Judy Lewis, and Joan Benny. In 1952 she graduated from the American H. H. Arnold High School in Weisbaden, Germany, where her father commanded the Rhine River Patrol. Upon turning 18, she declined the German government's offer of citizenship. While her father served in the Pentagon during the mid-1950's, she was an assistant buyer for Washington's prestigious Garfinckel's Department Store. In 1958 she interrupted this career - planning to return - briefly to accompany her parents to Naples, Italy, where her father took command of the Service Force Sixth Fleet. In Naples she met her future husband, his communications officer and flag lieutenant, who broke the Navy's "social protocol norms," proposed to her on Capri, and married the boss's daughter. After a storybook romance around the Mediterranean and Southern Europe, they were married in Naples on August 11, 1959. In the mayor's civil ceremony in city hall, preceding the church ritual, she declined the government's citizenship offer. She could have been Chinese, Soviet, German, or Italian, although if other than American, it probably would have been Irish. Their children are fifth-generation Southern Californians: San Diego (Patricia), Coronado (David), Los Angeles (Andrew). While raising them and Carrie in Mount Vernon and Alexandria, Va., she enjoyed a successful 20-year career as a residential realtor for the area's top two firms, Shannon & Luchs and Long & Foster, in a tough market when her achieving "million-dollar agent" meant more than today. She was active with the Fort Hunt Youth Athletic Association as the quintessential "Little League team mom" and sponsor, and high school boosters. She served the Fairfax County Republican Party as president of the Mount Vernon Republican Womens Club and as a volunteer in the office of Vice President Dan Quayle. Over the years the family frequently visited Wilmington, Wilbur's home town. So, her suggestion to move there following their 1996 retirements was readily welcomed. Arriving with Wilbur and Carrie in 1997, she dived into volunteer activities: Historical Society of the Lower Cape Fear; Domestic Violence Shelter & Services board; Stamp Defiance Chapter, National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution board; New Hanover County Public Library Advisory Board; and Republican candidate campaigns. A lifelong Catholic, she proudly served St. Mary Church as a Eucharistic minister and member of the team that spearheaded its recent recognition as a basilica and shrine. For 11 years, she enjoyed a full-time/part-time career as a research archivist with special collections in UNC Wilmington's Randall Library, preserving North Carolina history, assisting students and researchers, and directing the UNCW oral history program. An accomplished professional devoted to her country, community, and family, Carroll found solace in the warm and hospitable home she created. She strongly supported and inspired Wilbur's careers and achievements, and adored the seven poodles of her life, leaving one saddened Smarty Jones. Visitation is at Andrews Mortuary Market Street chapel on Wednesday, September 25, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Internment in Oakdale Cemetery on the Jones family plot is private. A memorial service will be held at 2 PM, Thursday, September 26, 2013 at The Basilica Shrine of Saint Mary. "Well done, thy good and faithful servant."
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