July 25, 1951 - June 17,2019
Carol J. Cantrell passed away on Monday, June 17,2019, from complications during a heart procedure.
She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on July 25, 1951, to Edna Maye Whitaker and James Roscoe Whitaker. She grew up in Amarillo, Texas, graduated from Amarillo High School in 1969, and earned a bachelor's degree from West Texas A&M University in 1973, planning a career in education. She moved to College Station in 1973, beginning 45 years of distinguished service to Texas A&M University and The Texas A&M University System. Her most recent position was Senior Associate Vice President for Research where she was responsible for administrative functions in sponsored research administration, administrative policy and compliance, research reporting, and sponsored research finance. She served as the liaison with the Office of Sponsored Research Services that provides grant management services in support of the University's overall research program of more than $922 million in expenditures per year.
Carol began her remarkable career with the University's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, where her considerable talent for managing finance, budgeting and human resources led to a steady rise in her profession. In 1984, she was named the Director of Budgets and Administrative Services for the Engineering Program, and later was named Associate Director of TEES, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Engineering, and Assistant Dean of the College of Engineering. She became known for her strong commitment to faculty research and worked diligently to assist researchers in securing financial support for a myriad of projects. Always open to new ideas, Carol's unwavering belief in the value of education and academic research and her commitment to excellence were a hallmark of her work, as she worked tirelessly to support and improve the research infrastructure of the University and System.
A 1990 graduate of Leadership Texas, Carol was active in many professional organizations. She served on the board of the American Society of Engineering Education and chaired the organization's Engineering Research Council. Named a Regents Fellow in 1998, that same year she served as a member of the USIA Delegation to China on Intellectual Property Management. Other honors included being named to Who's Who in Higher Education, Who's Who of American Women, the College of Engineering's Outstanding Performance Award, and the Sigma Xi Presidential Research Administrator Award. She was a member of The Daughters of the Republic of Texas. Carol was proud of having served as a Fish Camp Namesake in 2018.
Carol married Pierce Cantrell in 1986. Together they cherished their family, daughter Holly Richards, son-in-law Evan and granddaughter Eve, and daughter Janette Gill, son-in-law Jim and granddaugthers Ashley and Allison. She is also survived by her sister Judy Barker, brother-in-law John and niece Emily Barker. A talented pianist and musician, Carol was a member of Mu Phi Epsilon, the national honorary for musicianship. She often played for friends, and she and Pierce were devoted opera enthusiasts, having seen performances at La Scala in Milan, Opera Paris, The Metropolitan Opera, and Houston Grand Opera. Carol and Pierce were staunch supporters of the Brazos Valley Symphony and other arts organizations, as well as local charitable nonprofits helping children.
Known for her quick wit and her commitment to advancing women, Carol brought energy, intellect and passion to her work and was respected for her integrity and commitment to excellence in all she did. Never reluctant to advance or defend a cause she believed in, Carol will be remembered as a strong advocate for research excellence who advanced Texas A&M's engineering program and made important contributions to the System's research enterprise.
Carol's family and friends treasure the memory of her caring spirit, wonderful sense of humor, and her ability to withstand adversity with humor and patience. She was devoted to Pierce, Holly and Janette and her "grandgirls," and treasured their times together.
To honor Carol's life, a Celebration Gathering will be held from 5 to 7 pm on Friday, June 21, 2019 at Hillier Funeral, 4080 State Highway 6 South, COLLEGE STATION, Texas. Her Life Celebration Service will be begin at 1 pm on June 22, 2019 at the All Faiths Chapel on Texas A&M Campus with parking available in lot 20 behind the chapel with overflow parking in lot 30. Overflow availability and Celebration Reception will follow the Service at the ILSB (Life Science Building) Auditorium next door.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra or the Texas A&M Foundation to benefit a Graduate Fellowship in Carol Cantrell's name - Texas A&M Foundation, George Bush Drive, College Station TX 77840.
Please visit Carol's tribute page at www.hillierfuneralhome.com to share stories and memories.