Vernell McCarroll Oliver was born on July 18, 1922 in Pittsburgh, PA to Major and Valerie (Miller) McCarroll. She was the second of five children: younger sister of M.Raleigh, and older sister to Delores, Othello Lincoln, and Bobby Oswald. Even as a young girl, Verne's thirst for knowledge was insatiable. She was a voracious reader. After graduating from secondary school earlier than most of her peers, she attended New Jersey State University (formerly
Montclair State College) completing a B. A. in History in 1943, and an M.A. at Howard University the following year. She then continued her education with doctoral studies at Columbia University and further work at Johns Hopkins School of International Studies, the New School for Social Research, and Bank Street College.

Shortly after her marriage to Clinton Forrest Oliver in 1950, she relocated to New York City. Seven years later they were blessed with their only child, Carroll Phyllis. Both preceded her in death. Verne was the quintessential New Yorker. Transplanted from elsewhere, invigorated and indeed captivated by the energy and activity of this great city, she oozed enthusiasm for theater, music, the Knicks and the food. To dine with her was an adventure. She knew most Maitres d’ by name and had a reserved table at her favorites - they were all her favorites. But woe to the waiter who served her a Vodka Gimlet in an ordinary glass.

Verne spent more than a dozen years as a college instructor and an Assistant Professor at Morgan State College, Central State College of Ohio, and Howard University, among others. Academic publications led to History Department Chair and Chair of College Guidance, culminating in the laudable position of Head of the New Lincoln School (now part of Trevor Day School). She kept in touch with former students and enjoyed attending their frequent reunions. She simmered in the irony that their school building is now a house of detention on Central Park North.

Verne “retired” in 1988. Very soon, as Associate Director of the Gilder Foundation, she became intensely engaged in renovating school libraries, stimulating students, teachers, principals and educators at all levels. She enjoyed it all: ordering new books, getting new furniture, new carpets; making libraries aesthetically pleasing with pertinent works of art and poetry, making it possible for secondary students to attend college; all the while serving on various Boards and being always available to share. In her own words: "I work to restore, renovate, discover, create, and decorate libraries in all the boroughs with kids and books and teachers and curricula, automating catalogs, and have great fun doing it all."

She leaves to celebrate her life a devoted grandson, Arthur New Moon Grant, her brother Bobby, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, dear friends, coworkers and beloved students. 

In our memories, she is still among us.