Karol Ames

Obituary of Karol Ames

Karol Ames passed away on November 26, 2020 in Sarasota, Florida.  She was born on March 18, 1940 on Corregidor Island in the Philippines. 

She was the daughter of the late Capt. Godfrey Roland Ames and Katherine Ames Gehrkens.  Karol's father was a graduate of USMA (Class of 1937) and a POW during WWII. Karol left the Philippines in May 1941 with her mother and brother, and moved to Rockaway Beach, Queens, NY.   

Karol earned her Graduate and Master's degrees from UC Berkeley in 1963, where she studied early childhood education.  Karol then returned to NY where she worked in advertising at IBM HQ in Armonk, NY and Manhattan. 

A natural writer, gifted storyteller and educator, Karol then followed her calling to teach.  In 1972 Karol taught elementary school in St. Thomas, USVI, on a Mobile Grant, before moving to Florida in 1982 where she continued her career as an elementary school teacher. Karol was a proud member of the Southside Elementary staff in Sarasota, FL, where she taught for many decades and taught hundreds of children to read before her retirement in 2005. 

Karol loved planting in her garden, the arts, and was a gifted painter. She delighted in painting tropical flora and fauna, native to the Philippines, St. Thomas and Sarasota.  Karol also loved baseball, and in the 1950s, could be found cheering on the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field, with her brother.  She so loved her 3 dogs, Annie, Mac and Tommy. 

Karol's greatest passion was keeping the memory of her deceased father alive, to which she dedicated her life. In 1960, Capt. Ames's diaries were discovered, and eventually Karol took on a labor of love to transcribe the diaries, written in pencil during WWII.  It was through the transcription that Karol found citations of bravery on the part of Capt. Ames's Battery C in the Philippines.  Karol worked with the veterans, still living, to provide the first hand evidence from her father's diary.  Several veterans were awarded high military honors, including her father (posthumously).  A plaque is on display at West Point honoring him and his fellow service men.  Karol wrote, "I feel I have accomplished my life's work, to complete my father's unfinished mission."  

Karol is predeceased by her parents and her step-father Harry Gehrkens of Queens, NY.  Karol is survived by two brothers, Roland Ames and his wife Ann of North Haledon, NJ and Glen Gehrkens and his wife Patricia of Woodbury, CT; two nieces, Kathleen Ames O'Brien (Daniel) and Megan Gehrkens Canniff (Michael) and 4 nephews, Glen Gehrkens (Dianne), Peter Gehrkens (Jillian), Todd Ames (Danielle) and Christian Ames (Ariana) and 9 great nieces and nephews. 

A celebration of life memorial for Karol will be held at a later date in Queens, NY. 


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