James Rada, Jr.

It only took Dr. Alan Carroll a week to realize Emmitsburg was the place where he wanted to live and raise a family. When he died on May 17, 2018, he had resided in Emmitsburg for more than forty years, raised his family of seven, and become a part of the town.

Alan initially thought he would be a priest. He entered a seminary program and attended Loyola University in Chicago. Sometime during his years there, he began thinking life had another path for him to walk.

He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, but then spent another year taking science classes so that he could apply to medical schools. He was accepted at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Before he left for Maryland, though, he met and fell in love with Rita. The two were married in 1969.

He graduated from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1974 and completed a residency in Family Medicine there in 1977. Part of the third year of his residency involved his working with a doctor in private practice for two months, or two doctors for one month each.

He was recommended to Dr. George Morningstar in Emmitsburg, and Alan planned on working with him for one month before moving onto another doctor.

“After Alan had worked with George for a week, he came home and said, ‘I hope I can work with him for two months. It’s really wonderful there,’” recalled Rita Carroll.

Dr. Morningstar allowed Alan to work with him for two months and then invited him to join his practice. When the Carrolls moved to Emmitsburg, they had to get used to living in a small town.

“The day we moved up here in July, there were no street lights on South Seton,” Rita remembered. She also remembers the town being very dark and quiet at night.

Because of his work with Dr. Morningstar, Alan had already started to fit in.

“Alan had already met a lot of George’s patients, and he really liked them,” Rita said.

They rented a house on South Seton for four years, but then had to move when their growing family became too cramped in the house. They moved out to Keysville Road for a while, and when Dr. Morningstar died in 1988, Alan purchased the doctor’s home and practice. This meant there was minimal disruption for the patients.

Alan enjoyed his work. He liked working with the sisters in the nursing home across the street from his practice, and he liked living in a small town where he got to know everyone.

“His dad was in the Air Force, and they moved around a lot when he was younger,” Rita said. “He was looking for a quiet, good place to raise his family and do his work. He thought he found it here.”

After serving Emmitsburg for forty years, Alan closed his practice in mid-February. Rita said that he felt that it was time to close, and the changing nature of medicine and insurance made it unlikely that a single doctor would want to take over the practice.

He died on May 17 at the age of seventy-one. He left behind his wife and seven children: Sarah, John, Eric, Brendan, Peter, Amelia, and Ruth.

Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs called Alan a “wonderful doctor for our town.” He said during the June town meeting that Alan had served many generations of residents in town. “It means so much when you lose a person like that.”

Dr. Alan Carroll, served Emmitsburg for forty years and loved every minute of it.

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