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Subject: Bernard Carroll Jr., Engineer Built Eternal Flame at JFK's Grave

heart surgery complications
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Date Posted: November 10, 2002 1:45:12 EDT

Retired Army Col. Bernard G. Carroll Jr., who created the eternal flame that marks President Kennedy's grave in Arlington National Cemetery, died Sunday in La Jolla from complications after heart surgery. He was 83.

Carroll was the post engineer at Ft. Myer, Va., when Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. When First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy made the request for the flame -- she remembered seeing one in France that she thought would be appropriate for the president's grave site -- Carroll was given 48 hours to design and build it.

Using the Maryland phone book, Carroll trolled hardware stores in search of the gas and copper tubing he needed for the project. He and his crew worked through a day and a night to rig the apparatus, which has been renovated many times over the years.

Carroll was uniquely suited to the task. In the Army, he did weather reconnaissance for a meteorology station in North Africa, which he commanded during World War II. After the war, he worked as a junior partner in a construction firm.

When Carroll reenlisted as an Army engineer during the Korean War, he helped renovate the key port of Inchon, for which he was awarded the Legion of Merit.

Carroll spent 29 years in military service, retiring to El Cajon, Calif., where he taught high school at Mount Miguel High School for 10 years. He later joined the faculty of Grossmont College.

He is survived by his wife, Bette; three daughters; two sons; and six grandchildren.

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