Barbara B. Carl

Barbara Carl woke daily with a wide, engaging smile.

All her life, in all situations!

A North Carolina “Tar Heel,” “Bobby” was born on the eve of the Great Depression. The ‘baby’ after brother Norman and sister Ann of a well-off family that wintered in Florida, she lived 94 years through WWII, chronic, debilitating health problems and the drowning of her one son, Tony, all with a resolute optimism and unqualified gratitude for what she termed her “many blessings.”

Bobby loved people, to laugh, to talk. She found beauty instinctively in nature, art and animals — especially dogs, adopting, among many other pets and livestock, a succession of English mastiffs all named ‘Bear.’

A lifelong scholar and intellectual but, she’d say, shy of boys as a girl, Bobby thrived in all-girl Massachusetts prep school Abbott Academy and then-preeminent womens’ college Wellesley. Mastering in writing at Stanford, Bobby fell in love with San Francisco and California, her ultimate chosen home, and “the golden state;” and eventually, there also, her husband of 50 years, Bill Carl.

Bobby’s passion for her chosen places watermarks them in the memory for those who loved her: Pigeon Cove, on the Atlantic, where she summered so happily as a girl. Santa Barbara where a shared devotion to books, knowledge and spirituality led the Carls to operate a used bookstore, Abraxas Books, for decades a downtown institution just blocks from the Pacific. The Carl family summered in a cottage overlooking the west shore of Lake Tahoe, Bill’s idea of ‘heaven.’ In Chico, where the trees she adored grew so well, they owned a 160-acre ranch “for walking Bear” and an undeveloped commercial property, plus her beloved portico’d home on 88 Lazy S Lane.

Gracious, funny and often hilariously self-deprecating, Bobby gave throughout her life, with that amazing smile. A lifelong member of the Christian Science Church she donated, as a moral duty, to a wide variety and near-endless list of charities.

And she blessed friends and family as a model of humor, selflessness and compassion.

Mrs. Carl will be missed by a large extended family, many close friends and the local Christian Science community. She was cremated at Newton-Bracewell Funeral Home. A memorial is being planned on or about April 20, the anniversary of her birthday. For information please contact


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