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Carole Bates, 73
Carole was 12 years old the summer she struck a swimsuit pin-up pose during a family vacation in Daytona Beach, Florida — and that same year she met her future husband of 57 years, Bill Bates. They married while still teenagers, and after Bill finished his education, Carole picked up hers, attending business school and becoming an executive secretary. Eventually she quit to become a full time mother to their 2 children.
Carole lives in an Alzheimer's facility now. She's often unable to respond to questions these days. Bill visits often and takes her for car rides. They eat out and attend Arts for Alzheimer's, a creativity program that she looks forward to, even now. Still, Bill misses her smile. "The best cook and best homemaker you ever met," he says. "I used to joke that I could go in my house blindfolded and pick out what I was looking for. She was so organized." And her lifelong instinct for compassion remains in place. One day Carole noticed a new resident become visibly and verbally dismayed to see the furniture from her home here in these new, unfamiliar surroundings. Silently, Carole approached her, then she reassuringly walked down the hall, arm in arm, with her new friend.
—Frank J. Yuvancic