A very good write-up of Carol Chomsky from the Boston Globe.
Brilliant and accomplished, Carol Chomsky taught for many years at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and wrote oft-cited articles about how young children learn to read. And yet, she possessed talents that didn’t easily fit on a curriculum vitae.
“She was a pretty remarkable person,” said Judith Chomsky of Philadelphia, who is married to the younger brother of Dr. Chomsky’s husband, Noam. “She was very athletic, and, until she was ill, she was fishing and water skiing and doing things people wouldn’t normally associate with her. She played the accordion. She could fix a car. She was mechanical. I mean, she was the one who fixed everything at the house.”
Through her work in language development and psycholinguistics, Dr. Chomsky also helped young children learn the mechanics of reading, and by doing so gain greater social acceptance in their classrooms. Dr. Chomsky died of cancer yesterday at her Lexington home. She was 78.
“She was a very upbeat, happy kind of a person,” said Sylvia Schatz of Burlington, who is Dr. Chomsky’s sister-in-law. “She was also a very giving person, of herself and of her thoughts, of her ideas, of her suggestions. And she was very generous, both in material things and with her support and help in many ways.”
Among Dr. Chomsky’s duties was, at times, acting as a de facto gatekeeper for those seeking access to her husband, a linguistics professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology whose writings and political activism made him famous in ways neither of them could have imagined when they married in 1949.
Take two years ago, when Hugo Ch??vez, president of Venezuela, held up one of Noam Chomsky’s books during a fierce speech at the United Nations, turning it into an overnight bestseller. Dr. Chomsky fielded phone calls at their house and kept reporters at bay.
“Everyone wants to know what his reaction is,” she told the Globe in September 2006. “And that’s on the level of gossip and of no consequence at all.