Carol Souder Ames, 74, of Chalfont, passed away surrounded by family on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 after a brave 4-year battle with Parkinson’s disease.
She was born in Sellersville to the late John Carroll Souder and Pauline Hedrick Souder. She is survived by Richard Ames, her husband of 53 years; son Richard Ames Jr., husband of Keri Ames, of North Wales; daughter Annalie Ames Heinz, wife of Matthew Heinz, of Elizabethtown; and grandchildren Benjamin, Alexander, and Sarah Heinz. She is also survived by her sister Susan Souder Long, wife of John Long, of Souderton; and five nieces and nephews.
Carol graduated from Wissahickon High School in 1965 and from Moore College of Art in 1969. She found a way to weave her love of art throughout her life, from her early days working at Nanette (where she designed baby clothes) and Saks Fifth Avenue; to making her own young children’s clothes, quilting, calligraphy, and leading crafts for Annalie’s Brownie and Junior Girl Scout troops; to her later years where she explored her Pennsylvania German heritage by honing her skills in scherenschnitte and fraktur. She became well-known for her beautiful frakturs, which celebrated family weddings and dedications; one was even presented to the U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand, celebrating the birth of his son.
As a loving mother, Carol was actively involved in the lives of her children, through attending sporting events, her son’s Pinewood Derby races, and the many hours and dedication required to be her daughter’s Girl Scout leader for six years. Family trips in the summer were always highlighted by historical fiction stories she read to her children, to help family visits to places like Williamsburg, VA and Lowell, MA come to life.
She was a dedicated grandmother, who thought nothing of spending an hour on the phone “playing Matchbox cars” with her grandsons when they were young, and was excited to plan craft activities and read endless stories during “Nana and RunDad Camp”, an annual tradition when her grandchildren were elementary-aged. She loved pouring her artistic skills into amazing birthday cakes for the kids, including various Star Wars figures, a 3-tier Diego cake with wandering jungle vines, a Sleeping Beauty doll cake, and the Pantheon. Despite a 2-hour drive, she attended over 60 piano and violin recitals, school and youth orchestra and band concerts, and Hershey Symphony Orchestra concerts. She even insisted on attending her granddaughter’s first high school musical performance, despite the difficulty of attending in a wheelchair; she didn’t want to miss anything!
During her 53 years of marriage, Carol and her family traveled everywhere from annual summer trips to New England to adventures in 49 of the states. Traveling with students in the People to People High School Student Ambassador Program for many summers, she explored the globe from Australia and New Zealand to Scandinavia, all around Europe, and as far as the Soviet Union. In her 60’s, she conquered a bucket-list dream by hiking with her husband up the Matterhorn in Switzerland to 11,000 feet! A highlight of her family’s travels came in 1985, when her husband became an exchange teacher at the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle-upon-Tyne; she learned to live as an English mum, becoming a part of her new community, and making life-long friends through her experiences there. A highlight of later years was sailing the Chesapeake Bay and British Virgin Islands with her son and daughter-in-law, as well as wine-tasting trips to the Finger Lakes.
Carol’s faith was strong; she remained a faithful servant of the church throughout her life. She sang in the church choir from the time she was in 7th grade through her late 60’s, when she was confronted with early-stage Parkinson’s. She taught Sunday School for many years, and served as both a Deacon and a Session member at Lenape Valley (Presbyterian) Church; she also served as a Stephen Minister, a lay minister trained to give Christ-centered care to people going through very difficult times in their lives. She began and led a women’s Bible study for more than 15 years, participating with this essential part of her support system even in late-stage Parkinson’s, where communication was limited to hand signs.
Whatever she laid her hands to, she made a difference, whether it was Scouts, bringing joy to her grandchildren’s faces through her birthday cakes, or leading others to a stronger faith in Christ through her women’s Bible study group. She was an amazing lady, and we will miss her greatly! She embodied the inscription on her wedding ring, “More Than Yesterday, Less Than Tomorrow” in all areas of her life.
“May we so live to enjoy that day when the Lord may say to us, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful…. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.’” ~Matthew 25:21
The family welcomes donations to Lenape Valley Church in Carol’s memory, as an expression of sympathy in lieu of flowers. Donations will support the choir music program, which was close to Carol’s heart and she very much enjoyed being a part of for many years. Please write “Carol Ames Memorial” on the memo line of your check. Donations may be sent to: