Carol Gerdl March 7, 1941 – February 12, 2021
Celebration of Life
March 27, 2021
On March 7, 1941 in Los Angeles, California, the world was blessed with the birth of the beautiful soul of Carol Wilson. Carol had a long, beautiful life full of love and laughter and, at times, the deep pain and sorrow that is life. During these times, Carol's faith allowed her to keep going and to treat everyone with love and respect regardless of what she was facing.
When Carol was 16, she worked as a car-hop for a restaurant. With her beautiful smile and welcoming heart, she approached a car and proceeded to take the order of a man, Bob Gerdl, who would become her husband and the father to her two daughters, Debbie and Laurie, and her business partner as well.
Carol and Bob were married less than two years after they met. At age 18, Carol gave birth to her first child, Laurie, and 19 months later, Debbie arrived. As a young wife and mother, Carol needed help learning how to run a household and raise a family. Her husband's grandmother Mimi took it upon herself to come over and teach Carol everything she needed to know, as well as the "proper" way to do things. She was the woman of the house now and Mimi taught her how to take care of her child with everything from feeding to grooming. She also learned how to keep an immaculate house, all the way down to ironing her family's bed sheets.
Once the girls were of school age, Carol worked as a pharmacy technician for Rexall Drugs while Bob worked for Mayflower as a furniture mover. Carol would get the girls ready for school every morning, take Bob to work in their only vehicle, drop the girls off at school and then go on to her job at the pharmacy. Then in the afternoon, she would leave work, pick up her girls from school and take them home to do their homework while she prepared dinner. In the early evening she would pick up Bob from work, they would all have dinner together and she would get the girls to bed. With the day's work done, she liked to relax with a glass of wine and then head to bed and then do it all again the next day.
As their girls grew up, Carol took on more hours at the pharmacy. Bob continued to work as a furniture mover. By this time he was driving a truck all over the U.S. completely unaware that this would be their path to owning their own business. When their girls left home, Carol decided to join her husband full time. She learned how to drive a truck and obtained her Class A license. For the next five years, they were on the road together driving the truck and delivering furniture.
Carol moved home to Tehachapi after her grandson Bryan was born to her daughter Laurie. She adored Bryan and they shared an amazing connection. As a result of that connection, she made it her mission to have her husband work in Tehachapi. Carol wanted to use all of the experience they had as furniture movers and open up their own business. When a neighbor asked if Bob and Carol would consider moving them, Carol graciously fit it into their schedule and they rented a U-haul for the move. The neighbor told her that the move was absolutely "care free" and she was so grateful for their help. It was then that Carol knew that was to be the name for their company and Carefree Moving and Storage was born.
Carol had business cards made and whenever she saw a "For Sale" sign in someone's yard, she would knock on their door and introduce herself. She would smile, hand them a business card and ask if they would give Carefree the opportunity to provide an estimate to pack up all their belongings and move them to their new home. When Carol introduced herself, people were impressed by her light and her class. Little by little she started receiving phone calls and after a year or so, they had enough business coming in for Bob to quit working for Mayflower and work only with Carefree.
As life unfolded, Carol and Bob were called upon to raise their grandson Bryan when he was just two years of age. She raised yet another child while running a business and being a pillar of the Tehachapi community. When Bryan was 11 years of age, he was hit by a car while riding a motorcycle on Banducci Rd. He was so badly injured that he remained in a coma for four months. Carol did everything that she could to ensure Bryan's welfare and help him live a happy life in the midst of the brain damage he suffered. Carol just had a way. She held a secret to life that so few seem to find. Always remaining positive, she would say, "We move forward, never backwards." Carol organized fund raisers for Bryan. She fought with everything she had to make sure he got the disability that he was entitled to through the state and for the medical care that was necessary for him to someday learn to walk and talk again. Carol and her family were always at the hospital with Bryan. There was never a moment that one of them was not with him. She was very adamant about this. Carol was a woman of integrity and her word was everything to her.
Carol continued to run Carefree as she and Bob aged. Bob became terminally ill in 2013 and Carol and her daughter Debbie took care of him until he passed away a year later. Carol's youngest daughter Debbie then decided to run the business with her mother and Carol taught her everything about it. During this time, her oldest daughter, Laurie, passed away without warning on a trip the two were on together. Carol did what she always did. She continued to move forward. For the next four years, Carol ran Care free with her daughter Debbie.
As she got older and started having health problems, they decided to shut down the family business. Carol ended up moving to Ventura County with Debbie, where they lived together for another couple of years. The two went on many wonderful trips from Alaska to their timeshare in Cabo San Lucas. They enjoyed spending time just being together. When she was not out and about, Carol loved to bake. She was always baking cookies, making tapioca pudding, or something sweet. She received much joy from bringing her baked goods to a neighbor, to someone she appreciated, or just enjoy between Debbie and herself.
Even when she was ill, Carol maintained her sense of humor. She continued enjoying the things that were important to her before she passed. Carol became very ill and was put on hospice in late January. She had so much love surrounding her between family and friends. She passed away with Debbie by her side in their home in Port Hueneme on February 12, 2021. She taught each of us something on her journey in this life, and she is missed by everyone who knew her and loved her.