Carole Jean Lerner, owner of the Owl & Turtle Bookstore, died peacefully in her Camden home Nov. 2. She was 72.

Born in Detroit, Mich., Carole was the only child of Andrew and Maxine Sutyak. From an early age, she felt compassion for others and a gift for art. It was through a class field trip to a hospital that Carole learned about occupational therapy, a profession that could connect her desire to heal with her gift for creativity. She went on to graduate from Eastern Michigan University with a degree in the profession and completed residencies at both the University of Michigan Hospital and Psychiatric Institute.

Through the 1960s, Carole worked at Detroit’s Sinai Hospital. While there she met and married psychoanalyst Dr. Paul Lerner. Carole and Paul would remain married for 38 years, until his death in 2006. It was also at Sinai where their only child, Brett, was born.

The family followed Dr. Lerner’s academic and professional career to Canada, where they lived for the next several decades. While in Toronto, Carole became head of the psychiatric occupation therapy department at Mt. Sinai Hospital. She also taught occupation therapy at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine and published several works on the subject.

In the late 1980s, the family moved to Asheville, N.C. Ever a fan of Nancy Drew mysteries, Carole fulfilled a childhood dream by joining the detective division of the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department where she served as a deputy sheriff for psychiatric profiling. In addition, Carole held the position of town commissioner for Biltmore Forest, N.C., and in that role helped preserve numerous trees and wildlife.

Dr. and Mrs. Lerner moved to Camden in the mid-1990s to be closer to their son and his family. A bank executive for 17 years, first with MBNA and then with Bank of America, Brett is known to many in the Belfast area. For more than a decade the Lerners owned and operated the Owl & Turtle Bookstore. This warm and inviting store brought many of the nation’s top authors to Camden. It is recognized as one of New England’s premier independent bookstores and was most recently voted Maine’s top bookstore by the readers of Down East magazine.

Carole had several passions in life including antiques, genealogy, animals and her Cadillac, affectionately known as “midnight blue.” She regularly finished The New York Times crossword puzzle in less than two hours. She never missed an episode of “The Young and the Restless” in more than 25 years. And always enjoyed a Beefeater martini (up with a twist). Above all, her family came first.

She is survived by her son, Brett, and daughter-in-law, Kristine; and two granddaughters, Caroline and Claire, all of Camden; and her mother, Maxine Scudder Sutyak of Port Richey, Fla.

Visiting hours were held Saturday, Nov. 6 at the Long Funeral Home in Camden. A celebration of life was held Sunday, Nov. 7, at the Owl & Turtle Bookstore in Camden. A reception was held following the service.

The family suggests memorial contributions be made in Carole’s memory to the Camden-Rockport Animal Rescue League, P.O. Box 707, Camden, ME 04843; or to the animal shelter of one’s choice.