Kenneth W. Carpenter
October 02, 2013, 2:45 am by Staff Reports
Dr. Kenneth William Carpenter passed away peacefully Wednesday, Sept. 25, with his wife, Helen, by his bedside.
Ken was born in Maysville, Mo. on March 24, 1918 to Gladys Redman Carpenter and Charles Orville Carpenter. He grew up in Maysville and Des Moines, Iowa.
From an early age, music was his passion. He received his bachelor and masters degrees in music from Drake University in Des Moines. It was there where he met the love of his life, Helen Marie Mitchell. They were married in 1940.
A WWII veteran, Ken served as a Warrant Officer for four years. During this time he directed U.S. Army Air Corps concert, marching and dance bands from Pampa, TX to Calcutta, India, and Shanghai, China. Dr. Carpenter was the Commander of the 685th Army Air Corps Band and was attached to the 14th Air Force Flying Tigers.
Throughout his 42 years of music education directing bands and choruses, Dr. Carpenter taught thousands of students to appreciate and love music. He taught in numerous elementary schools, high schools, and universities. Many of his students received division I ratings at state music contests. Led by his example, some even became music educators and professional musicians.
While teaching at Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa. Ken earned his PhD in music from the University of Iowa. His dissertation, The History of the United States Marine Band was the first published history of the Marine Band. One of Ken’s highlights in recent years was a chance to direct the U.S. Marine Band while the band was on tour.
Upon his retirement, Ken and Helen moved to the Highland Lakes area in 1982. Shortly after arriving, the Carpenters started "The Flashbacks” big band playing dance music from the 1930s and 1940s. He also directed the Highland Lakes Men’s Chorus.
Ken and Helen lived in Meadowlakes in Marble Falls for 23 years. Ken was a member of the Church at Horseshoe Bay, sang in the church choir, Highland Lakes Men’s Chorus, and played lead saxophone in The Flashbacks Big Band. He also loved photography and boating of any kind. He even built his own 23-foot wooden sailboat. In June of 2012 they moved to a lovely retirement home in Wichita Falls to be near their youngest daughter.
Ken will be missed by his wife, Helen, of 73 years and his children: daughter Susan and husband Curt Haga of Eden Prairie, Minn.; son Daniel and wife Kathryn Gamrath Carpenter of Garland; son Thomas and wife Julie Wayne Carpenter of Eugene, Ore.; daughter Janelle and husband Steven Gulbranson of Wichita Falls; 10 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren; a niece and three nephews.
Memorials may be made to the music ministry of The Church at Horseshoe Bay, P.O. Box 8295, Horseshoe Bay, TX 78657.
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