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Caroline "Vandy" Vanderhoof O'Brien

July 5, 1971 July 27, 2019
Caroline "Vandy" Vanderhoof O'Brien
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Obituary for Caroline "Vandy" Vanderhoof O'Brien

Caroline Vanderhoof O’Brien July 5, 1971 – July 27, 2019

Caroline Vanderhoof Ackerman O’Brien, who during her journey from birth in Argentina to her motherhood and professional work in Atlanta, was a teacher, trainer, and human resources specialist, died Saturday, July 27 in Roswell, GA.
Known as Vandy throughout her life, she was 48.
“She was an unbelievable presence – just the fact that someone like her would exist in this world is beyond belief,” a companion said this week.
“She was a gatherer of people,” said another. “Her radiant smiles – super infectious way of bringing humor into every situation.,’ said a third. Joie de vivre was her description to a fourth. “A bright, happy presence.” And, as in her youth, one “who could relate to everyone” regardless of language.
Vandy was born on July 5th, 1971 in the moment of the most extensive brownout in the history Buenos Aires, Argentina, a city of eight million. She was born under candlelight at the onset of the power outage. A UPI story of this unusual birth of an American abroad was published in scores of newspapers around the United States. Her parents, Henry S. Ackerman and Victoria Mell Ackerman, were in Buenos Aires where Mr. Ackerman was studying on a Fulbright graduate fellowship. Vandy was proud of her Argentine citizenship.
Vandy lived in Argentina, Peru, Venezuela and, then, in the U.S., in Tallahassee, FL, New York City, Cleveland, New Orleans and Detroit before moving to Georgia. She attended kindergarten in Buenos Aires, early elementary school in Lima, Peru, and Caracas, Venezuela, and middle school in Shaker Heights, OH, and Trinity Episcopal School in New Orleans, LA, while pursuing high school years at Isodore Newman School in New Orleans and Grosse Pointe (MI) South High School, graduating in 1989.
Bilingual from her earliest days, Vandy entered Oxford College of Emory University, graduating with a degree in Latin American studies in 1993. She worked for Siemens, Inc. in Atlanta, as a marketing assistant; at Paychex, as a roving trainer for system software. She taught mathematics and Spanish at Atlanta Country Day School where she met her husband-to-be, Matthew O’Brien. At Solution Builders, she was VP Human Resources, and voted one of Atlanta’s 100 Top Women in Atlanta Business. For the past eight years, she was self-employed as a human resources manager working principally for Compass Chemical International Corp. and Italmatch USA in metropolitan Atlanta. She was active in the Oakhurst Neighborhood schools and other civic ventures in Decatur, Ga. She spent childhood summers and the last two weeks of her life in Montreat, N.C.
“She loved her children and her family fiercely. Her passion for beauty was unsurpassed,” said Ashley Marratt, a childhood friend in Montreat and Atlanta. During her recent years, aside from her professional work, Vandy was a community spirit , mother and homemaker for her daughters.
Vandy and, Matt, her former husband, had two children. Lucey, 20, is a junior at Florida State University; Caroline (Nina) , 15, is a sophomore at St. Pius X High School in Atlanta. Vandy is also survived by her parents, Henry S. Ackerman and Victoria Mell Ackerman; brother, Henry Cooper Ackerman, sister-in-law Nicky Ackerman and nephews, Douglas Laird Ackerman and Patrick Fynn Ackerman; and a niece, Jamie Schwartz, and two nephews, Jesse and Drew Schwartz, on Matt’s side. She was nicknamed “Vandy” after her great-grandmother, Mabel Vanderhoof Ackerman (1885-1954), an artist of Dutch descent.
On the last day of her life, she had read her daily reminder from The Power of Positive Thinking, that read "Put your trust in God and just go calmly on your way."
Visitation will be held from 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm and a memorial service will be from 4:30 pm -5:30 pm on Thursday, August 1, at A. S. Turner and Sons Funeral Home and Crematory, 2773 N. Decatur Road, Decatur, GA 30030. In lieu of flowers, family asks that donations be sent to DEAM (Decatur-area Assistance Ministry) through www.deamdecatur.org, an organization that is supported by Decatur and Avondale, GA churches, providing emergency food and volunteer support to local residents.


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Previous Events

Visitation

Thursday

1

Aug

3:00 PM 8/1/2019 3:00:00 PM - 4:30 PM 8/1/2019 4:30:00 PM
A.S. Turner & Sons

2773 N. Decatur Road
Decatur, GA 30033

A.S. Turner & Sons
2773 N. Decatur Road Decatur 30033 GA
United States

Chapel Service

Thursday

1

Aug

4:30 PM 8/1/2019 4:30:00 PM
A.S. Turner & Sons

2773 N. Decatur Road
Decatur, GA 30033

A.S. Turner & Sons
2773 N. Decatur Road Decatur 30033 GA
United States
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