Elva Cowan Ackler Carroll
The following quoted excerpts from Elva's personal writings have left us with a glimpse into her "Life Story” ---
Against the advice of well-meaning friends, I’m certainly glad my parents, Ben and Glessa Cowan, kept both of ME!!
Twins were a rarity in the rural area around Lamar, MO, when my sister, Ella, and I were born on July 23, 1923. Strangers drove for miles just “to see the babies” and the largest audience was said to be 76 in one day!! Our two older brothers, Clare, age 9 and Curtis, 11, helped care for us.
Early in life, influenced by a dedicated Sunday school teacher, I was led to make a profession of faith. I recall every detail of my conversion experience----the public profession, the fear and trembling when interviewed by the deacons and deaconesses, even the dresses Ella and I wore for our baptism.
I aspired to a nursing career but because of the lack of finances, even with several scholarships, I had to pursue other employment. Eventually, I was attracted to the academic scene with a career of the secretarial nature.
As for the “Cowan twins,” it was marriage that brought about our first real separation; however, the close childhood bonds and parallels in life continued. Nevertheless, as identical twins, the feeling of being somewhat incomplete without the other, persisted all through our lives.
1943---The fateful war year, in which I vacationed in CA with Ella, whose husband was training with the Army. Aboard the Continental Trailways bus en route back to Minnesota was a young naval Chief Petty Officer, Richard B. Ackler, returning from 22 months on an aircraft carrier in the south Pacific. After a whirlwind courtship, chiefly by mail, we were married on November 6, 1943 at the Little Chapel of the Roses, Chula Vista, CA.
It was when Dick surrendered to the call to preach, that the complex life of motherhood, military and ministry began to unfold. Even with babes in bassinets, I taught Sunday school, became “at home” and active in all the church organizations.
Ultimately, Dick served as Associational Missionary in central Washington for over 10 years. In 1981, I retired from Central Washington University as the Admin Secretary for the Dean of Education, Housing, and Food Services. This allowed us to travel more full time. Dick had been battling cancer and his death came in November 1986.
I moved back to Citrus Heights, CA. and eventually married Gene Carroll in 1992. Four short years later, after requiring much home care, Lou Gehrig’s disease ended his life. We were living in Longview, WA at the time. I suffered a stroke in 2004 and made the decision to move into Monticello Park Retirement Center.
I have lived at Tu Family Country Home, the past nine years, where the influence of my faith in God has persevered and surely been recognized by caregivers.
It is a deep personal gratification to me that as my children have grown into adulthood; they have continued to be active Christians at home, school, work and in social situations. I pray daily that God will keep them strong in the face of the rampant confusion of the world.
In retrospect, it is not at all unpleasant to have these 98+ years of myriad experiences to reflect upon. My enthusiasm and confidence in the future of the Lord’s kingdom is not in the least abated.
Ephesians 1:3-4. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world”.
Elva Cowan Ackler Carroll’s temporal Life Story has been completed. She went home to be with her Lord on Friday, October 22, 2021. Elva was preceded in death by her parents Bennie and Glessa Cowan; brothers Clare and Curt Cowan; husband Dr. Richard B. Ackler and husband Eugene N. Carroll; son-in-law Frank M. Gates; son-in-law John D. Cooke; and granddaughter Shyla Ackler Allen. She is survived by her twin sister, Ella Frahm; her five children: Ina L. Cooke, Richard A. Ackler (Cande), Sidney C. Ackler (Sheryl), Janice R. Gates, Leslie F. Ackler; nine grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, one great-great grandchild; and her Caregiver Chuan Tu.
In 2016, the youngest grandchild lost her battle with cancer, but many years earlier, had composed this inspiring tribute--
“Looking into your eyes is like looking into a world I’ve already seen. Your hands are withered with age, but show lots of love and caring. Your face can light up a room with just one look. One day I wish to be just as caring and loving and perfect as you. You are my Grandma---a woman of such strength and wisdom. You are such a gift to all you reach. No matter what it is, you are there with a smile on your face and such a wonderful attitude. God has gifted us with you.”
Love always, Shyla November 1999
“…those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.”
The Celebration of her Life will be November 8th, 2021, 2pm at the Mount Vernon Memorial Chapel, Fair Oaks, CA. She will be laid to rest in the Court of Honor at Mount Vernon Memorial Park.
Suggested Memorial Contributions:
American Bible Society
CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ)