Don Harold Carpenter, Sr. was born on Sept. 20, 1932, in Durant, to Harold Hunter and Hazel Othelia (Potts) Carpenter. He grew up in Durant where his great-grandfather began a furniture and hardware store in the late 1800’s. As the business evolved over the years and was passed through the family, it became known as the Carpenter Machine and Supply. He graduated from Durant High School and enrolled in Southeastern Oklahoma State University (SOSU) in 1950. While at SOSU he was involved with many groups and activities, including the band, playing the Alto Sax and was drum major, the Phi Sigma Epsilon Fraternity, and the Blue Key Honor Fraternity. After graduating in 1954 with a BA in Business Administration, he was drafted into the United States Army where he became the drum major of the 392nd Army Band stationed at Fort Lee, Virginia. When he was discharged in April of 1956, he returned to Durant where he went to work in his father’s machine shop. Eventually, however the long hours and tough working conditions convinced him to look at other options. On January 1, 1966, he accepted a position in SOSU’s Technology Use Studies Center which was offered to him by University President, Dr. Allen Shearer. He stayed with the TUSC until 1969 when he became the chairman of the Aviation Department. He had been flying most of his life and the Aviation Department was right where he wanted to be. He never thought he would leave but in 1974 he was offered an opportunity to become involved with a local insurance business and he accepted. After being associated with SOSU as a student and as a faculty member, he had one final opportunity to directly influence the University when he was appointed to the Board of Regents of Oklahoma Colleges in 1984. In 1995 he was selected by the SOSU Alumni Association to receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award. From his return to Durant in 1956 through the day he passed away he has not only served the University but was also involved with community events and organizations. For 10 years he served on the School Board of the Durant Public Schools and was the President of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association in 1973. In 1970 he served as president of the Durant Chamber of Commerce, but it is his contributions to the community through his involvement with the Lions Club that invoked his sincerest emotions. The past few years his greatest companion had been “Missy,” his Jack-Russell Terrier, and was able to see her the weekend before his death. He enjoyed flying and playing golf. He was a people-person and enjoyed meeting and talking to everyone. His family was the joy of his life and he cherished all the time he was able to spend with them. Don will be greatly missed by everyone who’s life he touched and all his family and friends.
Don was preceded in death by his parents; grandparents, Eli and Gillie K. Carpenter; and aunt, Mary Carpenter Spiller.
Don has left to cherish his memory a son, Don H. Carpenter, Jr. and wife Elizabeth of Ada, OK; a daughter, Cindy Newell and husband Mike of Buena Vista, CO; grandsons; David Newell of Edmond, OK, Chris Carpenter and wife Jessica of Broken Arrow, OK, Jeff Carpenter of Ada, OK, and Daniel Carpenter of Ada, OK; a granddaughter, Andrea Newell of Buena Vista, CO; and his first great-grandson, Cade Carpenter of Broken Arrow, OK; cherished cousins Joe Foote and wife Jody of Norman, OK and Jack Foote and wife Judy of Sacramento, CA; as well as many other relatives and friends.
Pallbearers will be: Bill Trent, Joe Clay, Gordon Wright, David Hughes, John Massey, Ed Mills, Roger Webb and Glen Johnson.
Honorary pallbearers will be Larry Williams, Jim Tyler, and Tom Lackey.
Music will be by his grandson, Jeff Carpenter and Brad Clonch.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the Southeastern Scholarship Foundation “Carpenter Scholarship,” 1405 W4 PMB 4187, 1405 N 4th Ave., Durant, OK 74701-0609, at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
Condolences may be left for the family online via Brown’s Web site at www.brownsfuneralservice.com.