Sara J. Carroll, 91, formerly of Springfield, Delaware County, a real estate broker for 40 years, died Tuesday, May 31, at Wiley Christian Retirement Community in Marlton.

Ms. Carroll was the youngest of nine children born to Ida and Benedict Carroll, a real estate developer. After graduating from West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Girls in 1938, she was a stenographer and later an administrative assistant at Smith, Kline & French, now GlaxoSmithKline, in Philadelphia.

From an early age, she told her father she was interested in becoming a real estate broker, but he told her she would never succeed because she was a woman, her nephew Ben Carroll said.

She decided to prove him wrong, and in the early 1960s she began selling houses for Calder Real Estate in Delaware County.

After earning a broker's license in 1966, she established her own firm, Sara J. Carroll Realtor, to pursue her interest in selling and managing commercial and industrial real estate.

Her nephew Harry Carroll, a real estate appraiser and broker, said, "At the time, she was the only woman brokering commercial real estate in Delaware County and the only one with her own firm."

Ms. Carroll's office was in the Lawrence Park Industrial Center, a warehouse, office and industrial complex in Broomall. She handled sales and leasing at the center and also managed properties for investors. Tenants and owners at the center included a health club, a candy maker, and the Small Business Administration of Delaware Valley.

In the early 1980s, Ms. Carroll was the broker for a structure at the center that was converted to office and warehouse condominiums, a new concept, Harry Carroll said.

She also handled leasing and management at a small industrial center in Havertown and found sites for Swiss Farm stores, primarily in Delaware County.

Ms. Carroll was a past president of the Sales and Marketing Executives of Philadelphia. She was named broker of the year in 1984 by the Henderson Group, a real estate development firm in Media. In 2004, in recognition of her accomplishments in the real estate industry, she was inducted into the West Catholic Girls High School Hall of Fame.

She retired in 2006.

Her life revolved around her business, her family, and her church, Ben Carroll said.

Ms. Carroll is survived by many nieces and nephews.

A Funeral Mass will be said at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 4, at Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, 651 E. Springfield Rd., Springfield, where she was a eucharistic minister. Friends may call from 9:30 a.m. Burial will be in SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Marple Township.

Donations may be made to Francis House of Prayer, Box 392, Rancocas, N.J. 08073.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.