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George Carpenter

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George Carpenter Obituary
George Fraser Carpenter, Ph.D.

George Fraser Carpenter, Ph.D., age 70, died suddenly in his sleep on December 31, 2014 while celebrating the holiday with family.  He grew up in East Grand Rapids, Michigan, and earned degrees from Wabash College, McGill University, and Michigan State University.  Early employment at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters took him to Scotland to research the North Sea Spill.  Subsequently, he worked in biological research in Northbrook, Illinois, followed by many years as a biologist for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality in Lansing. He also taught part-time at Lansing Community College. 

He was a Renaissance man who read constantly, enjoyed Monty Python, live theater and all wildlife.  At heart he was a naturalist, someone whose true church was in the woods and on the water, and he found much pleasure in sailing, cross-country skiing, and hiking locally as well as the Appalachian Trail, Denali, and the Grand Canyon.  While in Japan, he climbed Mount Fuji and felt so proud that he kept a picture of the mountain over his desk.  In retirement, he and his wife, Trudy Gordon Carpenter (originally from Leland), built their dream home, a small green house on the shore of Lake Michigan, where each day was celebrated by morning tea in bed with the dogs and the newspaper.

George's dogs were always a part of his life, and both Cricket and Franny survive him and will be cared for by Trudy, his life's love and partner for forty-five years.

George and Trudy married in 1969 and were blessed with two adored sons, the lights of his life, Scott (Traverse City, MI) and Brian (Plainwell, MI); a dear daughter-in-law Genevieve (Brian); and beloved grandchildren Seth, Katie, Graham, and Claire, all of whom survive him. 

The only thing that brought George to tears was any pain felt by his family.  He lived his life fully and fearlessly every single day—except for one panic attack during the final exam of a ballroom dancing class he and Trudy took so they could do something besides shuffle at their son Scott's wedding. 

George was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. Luther C. and Louise Carpenter, and is survived by two much-loved brothers, Jim (Becky) of Leland and Lu (Mara) of New York; as well as brother and sister-in-law Tom and Linda Kalber; mother-in-law Maxine Gordon; and many dear friends and relations.

At George's request, he has been cremated, and there will be no funeral.   Anyone wishing to donate could do so to either the Northport Area Heritage Association or the Leelanau Conservancy in Leland, two of his many passions.  If he had a final message for you, dear friends, it would probably be to go for a hike and drink better wine.



Published in Battle Creek Enquirer on Jan. 7, 2015
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