Isle of Hope Says Goodbye to the “Matriarch of Bluff Drive”

Carolyn Nell Wood Solana, daughter of Aline and Roger Wood who started Roger Wood Foods over 80 years ago, added a wonderful measure of spice to all the lives she encountered. She left this world surrounded by family on Saturday, March 26th, after 88 very full years. Carolyn grew up in Savannah and was educated at Wesleyan College where she made lifelong friends.

In the summer of 1948, she married her high school sweetheart, Joseph Mathew Solana, Jr. After graduation from UGA, the couple moved to Savannah so that Joe could work with his father-in-law at Roger Wood Packing Company. In the late fifties, they moved to a beautiful home on the bluff at Isle of Hope with three small children.

One more child arrived shortly after the move, and then the Isle of Hope life really set in. Boating, crabbing, fishing, and enjoying the dock and front porch became a way of life for the salty young mother and her family. The kids eventually grew up, but she always retained her love of swimming in the river, catching trout, picking crabs, and enjoying gentle breezes on her dock or front porch.

After losing Joe, the love of her life in 1989, she really focused on her children, grandchildren, and eventually her great-grandchildren.

She was always kind and hospitable to the many friends and neighbors passing her home, and gradually became known as the matriarch of Bluff Drive.

Carrie was always willing to share her beautiful home with folks who needed a place for a wedding or a photography shoot, or just neighbors wanting to enjoy the view for a bit. She also gave several Hollywood production companies a good dose of her Southern hospitality as they did shoots there.

Carolyn had a penchant for simplifying complex matters. If you didn’t want to know what she thought about something, you’d better not ask! She would call it as she saw it. Words to describe her would be funny, sassy, sweet, giving, patient, warm, and kind.

Carolyn loved her family at Isle of Hope Methodist Church, and was instrumental in the beginnings of the Day on the Island. She was recognized for her love of our coastal area and eventually was put in leadership positions with the IOH Historical Society and the Froebel Circle on Tybee Island.

Her great grandchildren said that Gigi was their best friend and that she never forgot their birthday no matter how sick she was. From her oldest child to the youngest great-grand (in-laws included), Carolyn Solana was absolutely loved and adored by her family.

She was predeceased by her parents, husband, a brother, Cyrus Wood, and her grandson, Gray Solana. She is survived by her children, Debbie (John) Rauers, Matt (Marilyn), David (Nancy), and Mark (Graham) Solana, all of Savannah; grandchildren, Amy (James) Whitaker, Katie (Craig) Beese, Page (Miller) Hamrick, Nancy Solana Hauser, Jacob and Chris Rauers, Joe, Henry, and Mary Tippins Solana, as well as 11 great-grandchildren and one on the way.