Carmel Marie McEwen
April 9, 1930 – July 21, 2018
Carmel Marie (Orlando) McEwen passed away on July 21, 2018, after a courageous twenty-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. Carmel was born in Youngstown, Ohio on April 9, 1930, the eldest daughter of Frank and Loretta (Diorio) Orlando. She attended St. Dominic’s grade school in Youngstown, then Villa Maria Academy in Villa Maria, Pennsylvania, where she graduated in 1947. She then chose St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in Terre Haute, Indiana, one of the oldest women’s colleges in America. While there, she met Charles R. McEwen, teacher of Economics and Statistics. Shortly after Carmel’s graduation, they were married on September 1, 1951.
In the ensuing years they raised a family of six children. Robert, the oldest, was born in 1952. Eleven months later Carmel gave birth to identical twins, Tim and Frank, so she was basically raising triplets – at that point she had three children under the age of 1. In 1957, Mary arrived, followed by Colleen in 1961, and then Chuckie, born with Down syndrome, in 1967. The family lived in six states due to the fact that Charles left teaching in 1954 to pursue a career in marketing with IBM and Control Data. From 1960 to 1975, while the children were in the K-12 years, they lived in New City, New York, in the beautiful Hudson River Valley, 40 miles north of New York City. At this time Carmel became very active in raising funds and developing programs to support persons with disabilities. With her Chuckie for inspiration, she pursued this mission with passion wherever she lived.
In 1982, with the nest empty except for Chuckie, Carmel’s husband — then a corporate vice president — retired. They moved to Marco Island, Florida. It was here, after thirty years of serving full-time as homemaker, chef, nursemaid, and taxi driver, that she became a tennis enthusiast. For the next twenty years, Carmel found a wonderful circle of friends playing at the Racquet Club, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings and Sunday evenings. It was during this time that Carmel, along with six other mothers, started a bowling league for adults with disabilities. In its first year, 1985, the league had 19 members. With Carmel and her husband serving as league coordinators for the next twenty-five years, the league grew to over 230 members, bowling every Thursday, year-round.
About the year 2000, the initial Parkinson’s disease symptoms began to appear. Gradually this relentless disease sapped Carmel’s strength, affected her balance, and weakened her immune system. But Carmel never stopped fighting, never stopped smiling, and never lost her faith that God’s will is what counts.
Carmel is survived by her children, Robert and wife Karen (Marco Island, FL), Frank and wife Cynthia (Clearwater, FL), Timothy and wife Charlene (St. Louis, MO), Mary Migliaccio and husband Thomas (Marco Island, FL), Colleen (Franklin, MA), and Chuckie (Marco Island, FL); seven grandchildren, Kenneth McEwen and wife Anne (Birmingham, AL), Katie McEwen (Brooklyn, NY), Stella McEwen (Minneapolis, MN), Andrew McEwen (Tampa, FL), Mia Hernandez and husband John (Dripping Springs, TX), Molly Gutterud and husband Chad (Scottsdale, AZ), and Thomas Migliaccio (Boston, MA); and one great grandchild, Benjamin Hernandez; her two sisters, Anita Matthews, widow of Robert (Bedford, MA), and Arlette Tanin and husband James (Methuen, MA); her sister-in-law Patricia Cooney, widow of J. Gordon, of Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, and numerous nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at San Marco Catholic Church (851 San Marco Road, Marco Island) on July 31, 2018 at 11 a.m., followed by interment at the Marco Island Cemetery. A reception for family and friends will follow at the Marco Island Yacht Club (1400 N. Collier Blvd., Marco Island).
The family wishes to thank the wonderful AVOW hospice staff for making Carmel’s final days comfortable and peaceful, and also wishes to express their appreciation to Carmel’s dedicated long-term caregivers: Maria Reyes, Maria Ramirez, and Pamela Baijnath.
To those who wish to honor Carmel’s memory, she would be most pleased to have donations made to STARability, a 501(c)3 charitable organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for adults with disabilities in southwest Florida, 868 99th Ave N, Naples, FL 34108 (www.starability.org/Tax ID# 59-2516162).
- Mass of Christian Burial Tuesday, July 31, 2018