Lake Forest Symphony Remembers Barry Joseph Carroll

Barbara & Barry Carroll, Karen with Ciara Carroll

Barbara & Barry Carroll, Karen with Ciara Carroll

The Lake Forest Symphony is saddened to announce the loss of Board Member Barry Joseph Carroll. Mr. Carroll, a devout supporter of the arts and education, served with the Lake Forest Symphony for over four decades. In his time with the Symphony, he also served as Vice President and Chairman. He passed away peacefully on Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018, after a brief illness.

Mr. Carroll served as CEO of J.C. Deagan Co., a Chicago-based musical instrument manufacturing company. A powerhouse in percussion instrument manufacturing, Deagan Co. was known for their development of the xylophone, vibraphone, marimba, and orchestra bells. Church bells were revolutionized by Deagan Co. through their design of tubular bells, which were also used as the original NBC chimes.

In 2017, Mr. Carroll was awarded the Lake Forest Symphony Golden Baton award for his longtime support of the Symphony. He is remembered as an advocate of music education for all and community outreach programs.

The Symphony will be celebrating Barry and his love of music at the season closing concerts on May 18 & 19. These concerts will feature Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony and Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3.


Barry Joseph Carroll, 74, of Lake Forest, Ill., and East Chop passed away peacefully on Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018, after a brief illness.

Barry Carroll

Barry Carroll

Born on Jan. 22, 1944, in Highland Park, Ill., the son of Wallace and Lelia (Holden) Carroll, Carroll grew up on the Lazy C Ranch in Bannockburn, Ill., and then on LeWa Farm in Lake Forest, where he met his beloved wife, Barbara Pehrson Carroll, while in high school.

A devoted husband, father, and grandfather, for all of his life’s accomplishments and adventures his family will always remember him as a lifelong learner and avid reader with an encyclopedic memory, who could teach them about virtually any subject, and as someone who enjoyed sailing and flying his airplane, playing many musical instruments, and singing folk music. Barbara always thought that the man she loved and married would share with her a most interesting and adventurous life, and he did.

Carroll spent most of his adulthood working as a manufacturing executive, real estate developer, bank director, university trustee, photographer, and filmmaker. He got his start at Lake Forest Academy, and graduated from Lake Forest High School in 1961. He attended Boston College from 1961 to ’63, and earned his B.A. from Shimer College in 1966, with a concentration in humanities. He attended St. Clare’s Hall, Oxford, England, and earned his master of business administration from Harvard Business School in 1969, with a concentration in finance and small business administration. In 1995 he received an honorary doctorate of letters from Shimer College. Early in his career, he was named one of the “Outstanding Men of America” by a national organization, and he was invited to and joined MENSA.

During the early 1960s, Carroll pursued his passion for music, playing the guitar with the Careless Lovers, and later the Mandrell Singers, with whom he opened for such artists as the Mamas and the Papas, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, and Dave Van Ronk. “The apex of my career was back in the pop folk music era, when I played at the Bitter End Coffee House in New York on the same marquee as Cass Elliott,” he once said.

Barry & Barbara Carroll at the 2018 Symphony Gala.

Barry & Barbara Carroll at the 2018 Symphony Gala.

At 25, after writing a business plan for another school project, Carroll became the CEO of the J.C. Deagan Co., a 79-year-old Chicago musical-instrument manufacturing company, which produced mainly percussion instruments, electrovibes, and marimbas. He eventually came to own and run this business. He joined the board of the Lake Forest Symphony, where as a young man he served as vice president, and later as chairman. He was presented the Golden Baton award for 50 years of volunteer service and support to the symphony and the Music Institute of the Symphony Association. Today the institute continues to enroll hundreds of students.

A private pilot, he enjoyed flying his Mooney 201J to Martha’s Vineyard, all over the Midwest, New England, and the Caribbean with his trusty co-pilot, Barbara. They would hire planes and fly over volcanoes together while on vacation all over the world, from Hawaii to Thailand. He was an avid sailor, and enjoyed the Caribbean and Martha’s Vineyard in his two boats, the Katy, a 41-foot Morgan ketch, and Fairplay, a 29-foot Skimmer, out of Edgartown Yacht Club and East Chop Yacht Club. He also enjoyed playing tennis, skiing in Breckenridge, Colo., and scuba diving in the islands. He traveled to most of the states in the Union, and further afield to all six continents, the Northern and Southern icecaps, the five largest countries, and numerous others, down to Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Nepal, Guyana, Belize, and Caribbean islands.

In 1970, he began his pursuit of improving standards in educational institutions when he joined his alma mater as a founding board member for Shimer College and the Shimer College Foundation for Liberal Arts, and served as chairman from 1975 to ’78. Starting in 1973, he served for decades as trustee on the boards of Roosevelt University, St. Xavier University, Barat College, and the University of Illinois Eye Research Institute.

In 1983-84, Carroll accepted an appointment by the President’s Commission on Executive Exchange, and worked for a year in the first Reagan administration as special assistant to the U.S. secretary of education, Terrel Bell. In subsequent years, he followed up on this appointment by speaking on, authoring, and editing a monograph and book on business partnerships with education.

Carroll went on a scientific expedition to an unusually dry valley in Eastern Antarctica in January 1989, where he explored mineral resources while scuba diving under the ice, and he employed helicopters and a hovercraft to photograph the terrain and wildlife. His numerous photography and videography projects spanned a variety of scientific and industrial subjects over four decades, producing dozens of films, including one on the history of punch presses, and one on the story of mallet instruments.

He served dozens of educational, cultural, and financial institutions in his lifetime as a trustee, director, president, or officer.

In his autobiography, Carroll described his own life in the following words: “In brief, I have lived in an extraordinarily rich and fast-changing time, and drunk in many, many of the opportunities and joys and experiences that any one person might ever expect in a number of lifetimes. I have chased shrimp boats and freight trains in a helicopter, hanging by just a seatbelt 500 feet over the water in steep banked turns, filmed oil-drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, shot ducks in the alligator-lined bayous of Louisiana, ‘slipped the surly bounds of earth’ in my light airplane, dove to the blackest depths of Lake Geneva, and nearly died from asphyxiation in a grain dryer. I have mostly owned and driven/flown/sailed 10 motorcycles, a wide range of tractors with up to 12 gears, innumerable cars, five or more types of light planes, a Bell 206 helicopter, many sloops and ketches, a hovercraft, and a locomotive.” Carroll was an adventurer and an explorer, a loving husband, father, son, brother, and grandfather, but he was ultimately a lifetime student, a polymath, and true renaissance man.

He leaves behind Barbara Pehrson Carroll, his wife of 53 years; his five children, Megan Carroll, Sean (Karen) Carroll, Deirdre Carroll (Jonathan) Erulkar, Colleen Carroll (Kipp) deVeer, and Oona Carroll; siblings Wallace E. Carroll Jr., Denis H. Carroll, and Lelia Carroll; and 11 grandchildren, Aisling Shea, Eoin Shea; Fiona Carroll, Ciara Carroll, Sean Carroll, John Carroll; Samuel Erulkar, Benjamin Erulkar, Eli Erulkar; Wallace deVeer, and Kathryn deVeer.

The family held a private funeral on Jan. 8, 2019. Memorial services will be held at 11 am on May 18, 2019, at the Church of St. Mary in Lake Forest, Ill., and on Martha’s Vineyard on July 16, 2019.

The family appreciates donations in Barry Carroll’s name to the following charities close to his heart: the Lake Forest Symphony at lakeforestsymphony.org, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum at mvmuseum.org, or Shimer College at shimer.edu. For more information, please contact Wenban Funeral Home at 847-234-0022 or wenbanfh.com.