Longtime community advocate dies of cancer

HANCOCK COUNTY — The community lost a caring partner, one with unparalleled passion, dedication and a giving heart, with the passing of Jill Carr, friends say.

Carr, 54, Greenfield, lost a long fight against cancer last week; she passed away at home. Carr, a 1980 Greenfield-Central High School, studied at Purdue University, but after graduation in 1984, Carr decided to return to her hometown to make a difference for its residents.

A long-time wellness advocate, Carr worked at Hancock Regional Hospital since 1998; she last served as director of the Nutritional Services Department. She also served on a variety of nonprofit boards over the years, a sure sign she dedicated her time to helping others both on the job and off, friends say.

Hospital CFO Rick Edwards, a fellow Greenfield-Central graduate, considered Carr not just a colleague but also a good friend who would do anything for the community and her family.

“Greenfield and this hospital were such a large part of her heart,” he said.

Carr was always thinking of ways to do things for others, particularly in the county’s battle against hunger. She couldn’t stand the thought of people going without enough to eat, especially in a community with the means to feed them, friends said.

She worked tirelessly with Paula Jarrett, Hancock County area director of the United Way of Central Indiana, to create the Hancock County Hunger Coalition, now in its second year.

Carr was a no-nonsense kind of person; she had a great since of humor but also knew how to roll up her selves and work hard, Jarrett said.

“We lost a good one,” Jarrett said. “She just got the job done … A big hole has been left in the community with her passing.”

Jarrett looked to Carr as a role model, helping her to learn how to serve the community better, she said.

Carr, who had a big heart for many ventures, was also instrumental in establishing the local Meals on Wheels of Hancock County, executive director Kathleen Vahle said.

Carr helped create the county food program for seniors back in 2001 after federal and state funding for food services stopped, leaving a void.

“Without Jill, who knows if we’d even have our program now,” Vahle said.

Carr was known throughout the community as a person who had a way of tackling a project and being able to see it through, while navigating roadblocks along the way.

In additional to her work promoting health and nutrition at the hospital, Carr also served on the Greenfield Parks and Recreation Department Board.

Parks superintendent Ellen Kuker admired Carr’s passion for her work. Carr was dedicated to making Hancock County a place where families would want to spend time and children would want to return.

“She was always looking for ways to make our community accessible from an activities perspective,” Kuker said.

During the most recent parks board meeting, board president Rick Roberts paid tribute to his board member.

“Those who knew Jill knew she was quiet, a behind-the-scenes parks board member, but she was passionate about parks and recreation,” he said.

Park officials say they will continue to find a way to honor her, but in the meantime, they encourage anyone to take a moment of quiet reflection in a park as a tribute.

Carr leaves behind many loved ones, including her husband, Paul Carr, and two children, Paige Peloso and Dominic Peloso of Greenfield.

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Kristy Deer is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3262 or kdeer@greenfieldreporter.com.