BC Mourns the Loss of Friend Lisa Carr
Lisa Carr, wife of former Bluefield College vice president for advancement, Tom Carr, passed away Sunday, January 26 in Searcy, Arkansas, after a long and courageous battle against cancer.
January 29, 2014
Diagnosed October 18, 2006 with breast cancer, Lisa battled the disease for more than seven years. Despite countless chemotherapy and radiation treatments, multiple surgeries, blood transfusions, and Lisa’s never-ending determination and hope, the cancer spread and eventually took her life some seven years after her diagnosis. She was 56 years old.
“While serving as director of alumni relations at Bluefield College, it was my privilege to serve under Tom Carr, vice president for advancement,” said former BC staffer Teresa Stanley. “Along with that honor came getting to know his wife, Lisa. From the onset, her personality was so warm and caring. She had a calmness and gentleness about her, and her Christ-like spirit was one that any one would want to emulate. She was indeed a gracious lady, who lived her life with eternity in sight, while making every day count for those she loved so dearly, most especially Tom and her children.”
Photos by Jon Yoder, family and friends.
Lisa took to blogging during her battle. In an online blog titled “Battle Lines,” she shared her fight against cancer, openly expressing her “heart, fears, victories and faith.” Exactly two years into the battle, she shared this post.
“I choose to celebrate this day,” she said of her two-year anniversary. “After all, I am alive and well. That is not a small point. I am grateful to the Lord for His love and mercy in my life. Not just that He saved me from this awful disease, but that He saved me from sin, an even greater disease than cancer. Praise to God! All praise to Jesus Christ for the gift of forgiveness, redemption, and healing that He gave when He went to the cross for us. He’s real, this Jesus. I praise His holy name! I can’t, nor do I want to, live one day without Him.”
And with that faith and determination, despite the challenges of her disease, Lisa made her last seven years “some of the best of her life.” She traveled with Tom to Africa, Switzerland and France, led Bible studies for college students, and was a sponsor of Harding University’s Pi Theta Phi women’s social club.
Using her life experiences, she also shared motivational lectures at Harding and Pepperdine University. In addition, she played piano and was a prolific songwriter, using music to express her faith. In fact, some of her songs about the Biblical story of the prodigal son were made into a play, The Prodigals, which was first performed in 2012. She also continued to blog, expressing her utmost faith and trust in God even in the final days.
“Have you noticed that when you have something big in your life that is going to be a difficult event, that the closer you get to it there seems to be this surrender of control,” Lisa said in a post from December 2013. “The truth is our control really is gone or limited anyway, but for a while we think we still have some control. We don’t. So, as it approaches, the more we say, ‘I give this to You God. I surrender all of it. I trust and love you. Amen.’”
A graduate of Harding and Texas Tech University with a degree in secondary education, Lisa home-schooled her four children. She was also a Sunday school teacher. Tom, her husband of 36 years, was Bluefield College’s vice president for advancement from 2002 to 2005. During his three years at BC, Tom’s most significant influence was in the area of student scholarships, planned giving, and capital improvements.
“Under Tom’s leadership we experienced our most significant growth ever in such a short period of time in the areas of planned giving and endowed scholarships,” said Ruth Blankenship, BC’s current vice president for advancement, who served as director of corporate and foundation relations under Tom. “He was also instrumental in seeing a number of capital improvement projects completed on campus.”
In three years under Tom, the Advancement Office secured gifts to establish 20 new student scholarships. The college’s Founders’ Club, comprised of donors who have made provisions for BC in their will or estate plans, grew by 19 members. And, major renovations were completed to Harman Chapel, while the former President’s Home was transformed into a new Missionary-in-Residence house.
In addition to Tom, Lisa leaves behind her sons, Jesse (30) and Jamie (23), and daughters, Betsy (27) and Mary (19). The family will host a memorial service for Lisa, Friday, January 31 at 4 p.m. at Downtown Church of Christ in the Family Life Center on North Main Street in Searcy, Arkansas. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Tom’s work ministry, IHCF African Christian Hospitals, 102 N. Locust Street, Searcy, Arkansas 72143 or Covenant Fellowship Church (for the Prodigals Ministry), P.O. Box 8126, Searcy, Arkansas 72143.