Vail Daily obituary: Carol Brown, 1926-2015 |

Vail Daily obituary: Carol Brown, 1926-2015

Vail Pioneer Carol Brown has died. Services in Vail are still being scheduled.
Susan Brown Milhoan |

Mrs. Carol (Keith) Brown, part-time resident of Vail, San Antonio, Texas, and Palm Desert, California, died on March 20. She was 88 years old. Throughout her life, Carol was known by her friends and family as either Carol Louis, Little Bite, CB, Mom and Abi, but she had one enduring quality — she was unwavering in her dedication and love for family and friends. Carol was a beautiful woman who inherited the striking black hair of her American Indian heritage. No one could ever believe it was real, so she treasured any gray because it proved her case.

Born in El Reno, Oklahoma, on May 27, 1926, Carol’s mother moved she and her brothers Dave and Paul to San Antonio when they were young. She attended Saint Mary’s Hall and then the University of Texas where she met and married Keith Brown from Sterling, Illinois, who was a law student. From San Antonio they moved to Oklahoma City, then Denver, where they raised four children, Susan, Briggs, Linda and Ben, and where they became involved in Denver civic, political and social activities.

Skiing became a big part of their lives and when the opportunity arose in 1959 for Keith and his business partners to join a small group of men to form a new skiing area, they jumped at the chance. They daringly built the second house in Vail on Mill Creek Circle. While Keith filled his time raising money and putting together infrastructure for the new town, Carol found her niche as the first interior decorator partnering with Jerry Cohen in Vail Interiors. They stayed very busy following in the wake of new construction. In 1982 and 1992, she found herself decorating different kinds of residences in Lesotho, South Africa, and Copenhagen, Denmark, where Keith had been appointed as the American ambassador. She brought her own special flare, making sure that there was at least one red room in each home. Friends of theirs helped Carol put together a collection of art donated by artists from around the United States to fill the residence. This set an example and is now a common practice in U.S. Embassy residences worldwide.

Wherever Carol and Keith lived, they gathered around them an excitement of friendships. The fun and laughter they created was unparalleled. Carol was especially known for her beautiful singing and they often topped off many an occasion serenading everyone with one of their famous duets. They loved entertaining the younger generation and opened their homes to celebrations at Christmas, Easter and July Fourth, creating many lasting traditions and memories.

Favorite Pastimes

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Art, sports and singing were Carol’s personal passions. She was a tennis player, golfer and one of the best shots in the field. But perhaps her favorite pastime was the annual trip she and Keith made as a family to La Jolla, California, where they joined several other families from San Antonio every August for 64 years at the Beach and Tennis Club. Last year, four generations applauded them as their stalwart patriarchs. As an artist, Carol loved to paint red poppies and mountain landscapes so reminiscent of her own colorful life.

In recent years, sports turned to bridge, reading, cruise ship traveling and hosting visits from all the children. Her sharp mind, beauty and black hair still intact, Carol succumbed to a weakened heart. Her husband of 65 years, Keith, was holding her hand during her quiet departure.

Carol leaves behind: a family of three children, Susan, Linda and Ben (Kathy); seven grandchildren, Walker (Whitney), Prent (Leah), Trey (Gaby), Briggs, Carolita, Kate and Emily; and four great-grandchildren, Gunnison, Augusta, Oakley and Cap, all who truly adored her. She was predeceased by her son Briggs.

Carolita, her youngest granddaughter, wrote, “I don’t know what could be better than literally being named little Carol because the original Carol was the sweetest most wonderful woman I’ve ever known. She always orchestrated a way to get me yellow roses on my birthday, without failure.”

Whitney Milhoan, married to Walker, said, “It’s a small thing, but something about the way Abi would say “Hi darlin’” always made me feel loved and special … and seeing the kids give Abi kisses on the lips is probably the sweetest thing ever.”

Services will be at 2 p.m. on April 17 at First Presbyterian in San Antonio. A celebration of life is scheduled for May 23 in Vail, location and time to be announced.

In honor of Carol, the family would request that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the University of Colorado Depression Center, the Challenge Foundation in Denver or to your charity of choice.

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