Barbara Carroll

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Sassy and independent, Barbara J. Carroll, tired of a body that didn’t work anymore, and surrounded by family, she slipped away on July 22, 2021, to join the love of her life, William E. Carroll (Bill).

Born in Cleveland, enjoying her teen years in Florida, her family entered the horse racing world and she and her sister, Donna, never left after they both married jockeys. Once Bill completed his jockey career and began training thoroughbreds, they moved to Freeburg to establish Bellclair Farm, where Barb became general manager and bookkeeper. She easily juggled motherhood (Cathy and Ed), family life, employees, suppliers, horse owners and all the general chaos that comes with it.

Later, health issues forced retirement and relocation to the South. Bill soon passed away and Barb returned to the Midwest. She settled in Chicago and began working for the ITBOF (Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation) where she whipped that office into shape. She eventually retired and moved back south to Montgomery, AL to be a full-time Grandma to Ed’s kids, Will and McKenzie.

But as luck would have it, Ed had the opportunity to manage the Des Moines Air Traffic Control Facility, so he moved to Des Moines, where Cathy lives, and so did Barb. Wasn’t long before she decided to see what was going on over at Prairie Meadows Racetrack and before we knew it, she was running their HBPA (Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association) office and became a founding board member and treasurer for the thoroughbred rehabilitation and rehoming organization, HART (Hope After Racing Thoroughbreds).

She loved her work at the track but finally retired at age 81 and moved to Florida where she bought a gorgeous three-bedroom townhouse that she really loved. At 87 her health took a bad turn and despite all efforts she just couldn’t turn it around. Luckily, we were all together on her 87th birthday on May 28th having the best time doing the kinds of goofy things that would come as no surprise to those who know us well.

Those she has left behind to tell stories and share memories include daughter, Cathy Erickson (Al Kopec); son, Ed Carroll (Carol); grandson, William; granddaughter, McKenzie; a sister Donna Hasher (Bud); plus many nieces and nephews. Other partners in crime include Sue Sedlacek, Jon Moss, Leroy Guessman, and Gerry Gallitano. And a final shout out to a few close friends who she knew well and loved including, Sharon Smith, Pam Kaiser, John Metz, Amy Heberer, and Mike Minks.

Donations can be made in her name to HART by calling (515) 967-4804, mailing a check to HART c/o IA HBPA Office P.O. Box 1000 Altoona, IA 50009, or alternatively through the donation tab on HART’s website at Condolences may be expressed to the family online at

Visitation:  Friends may visit the family from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Saturday, August 28, 2021, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Smithton, IL.

Funeral: A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, August 28, 2021, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Smithton, IL.

Burial will be held at St. John Catholic Cemetery, Smithton, IL.



9 Comments on Barbara Carroll

Leroy Gessmann said : Guest Report Aug 27, 2021 at 1:54 PM

It saddens me I could not attend the celebration of Barb's life. It saddens me even more to lose such a good friend. When I was elected President of the IAHBPA my first job was to hire a director. God was looking over me when I was doing my search helping find such a wonderful and caring person. Barb was my friend, advisor and rock for the next 15 years and beyond. I would of never made it without Barb at my side. I will truly miss Barb and her annual phone call to remind me of my flu shot. God bless all the family and friends. Our prayers are with you.

  • Cave Creek
  • AZ
Karen Hession said : Guest Report Aug 26, 2021 at 12:38 PM

So sorry for your loss. We were apart for a long time, but when we were together we were best friends. She was kind and smart and very thoughtful. She will be missed.

  • Maggie Valley
  • North Carolina
Leslie jennings said : Guest Report Aug 18, 2021 at 4:47 PM

I'm so sorry to hear this she was always a sweet heart

  • Paris
Chaplain Dennis Luft said : Guest Report Aug 18, 2021 at 1:39 PM

Miss Barb and I worked together for15 years her at IHPA and I chaplain at Prairie Meadows Race Track Altoona Iowa . Miss barb was the kindness person I ever new, we helped the horsemen even when it was on the border line I missed her a beautiful human being God Bless.

  • DesMoines
  • Iowa
Mike Busch said : Guest Report Aug 18, 2021 at 8:15 AM

So sorry for your loss. I remember Cathy riding through town (Smithton) on her horse.

  • Freeburg
  • IL
Chuck Schott said : Guest Report Aug 18, 2021 at 7:48 AM

So sorry, worked with her for many years at Prairie Meadows.

  • Perry
  • Iowa
Sharon said : Guest Report Aug 17, 2021 at 10:15 PM

I am so sorry for your loss

  • Mesa
  • AZ
Karen Hession said : Guest Report Aug 17, 2021 at 8:19 PM

Barbara will be missed. Even though we were apart for a long period. When we got to see each other we felt a strong bond. She was a remarkable woman..

  • Maggie Valley,
  • North Carolina
Tom Hill said : Guest Report Aug 16, 2021 at 8:51 PM

Sorry for your loss

  • Freeburg
  • Illinois

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