Carroll Ann (Imle) Mears, 76, died on Friday, May 1, 2020, at her home in McLean, VA.
Born Feb. 24, 1944, in Hillsboro, she was a daughter of Mary Virginia (Brinton) Imle and Albert R. Imle. She lived in Hillsboro in the family-owned Hillsboro Hotel/Red Rooster Inn until graduating from Hillsboro High School in 1962.
Carroll Ann was a talented musician in voice and on piano, having learned from her mother and grandmother, Vira Brinton. She continued her training at the University of Illinois and graduated with a degree in Music Education.
An interest in politics as a teenager led Carroll Ann to volunteer, alongside her father, for many Democratic campaigns, including those of Illinois Senator Paul Douglas. She later worked as a summer intern for Senator Douglas in Washington, D.C. After college graduation she followed her passion for politics and moved to Washington, working for the Hubert Humphrey Presidential campaign and then at the White House as press advance for President Jimmy and Mrs. Carter.
From there, Carroll Ann worked for ABC and NBC News covering political campaigns and Presidential candidates. She remained at NBC in Washington for 25 years as White House correspondent and then as producer for The NBC Nightly News, until her retirement in 2015. During her career, she received an Emmy for a documentary covering Hurricane Katrina.
She married Walter R. Mears, a Pulitzer Prize winning author, well respected Washington columnist and president of the Associated Press. Together they were well known in Washington political circles. The couple later divorced.
At home, Carroll Ann became a gifted gardener and was a huge fan of the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. She continued to be in contact with her many friends from high school and her Alpha Chi Omega sorority sisters, traveling with them and keeping them up to date on the Washington, D.C. political scene.
Her love of music led her to become an expert on American musicals. As an avid reader, she amassed an extensive collection of first edition books and music of all the great composers, lyricists and actors of the Broadway stage. She loved splurging on loved ones and spent many happy hours playing, singing and dancing with her grandniece and grandnephews, and visiting her husband’s daughters and grandchildren. She will be greatly missed by family and friends.
Carroll Ann is survived by her sister, Deborah Miller (Bruce) Smith of Alamo, CA; nephews, Brinton (Sheila) Miller of Washington, D.C., Reid (Jessica) Miller of Kensington, MD; Stephanie Mears (Martin) Stich of Austin, TX, and Susan Mears (Brad) Wiemer of Boulder, CO; and great-nieces and nephews, Lily, Kai and Joel Miller, Nathaniel and Madeline Stitch, Aiden, Tristan and Brynne Wiemer.
She was predeceased by her brother, Barclay.
Memorials may be directed to the Hillsboro High School Choir, in care of Amy Lemons, 522 East Tremont Street, Hillsboro, IL 62049
A celebration of life will be held at a later date.