CONCORD - Kenneth Marriott Tarr, 85, of Concord, died on Saturday, Feb. 18, at his home on Beacon Street.
Ken was born in Columbus, Ohio, on June 17, 1926, the son of late Samuel B. Tarr and Nelda (Marriott) Tarr.
He was a 1944 graduate of Mount Vernon High School, Mount Vernon, Ohio. Upon graduation from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army
and served with the 737th Tank Battalion, known as "Patton's Spearheaders." His unit was engaged in many major battles of World War II
, including St. Lo, Bastogne, and the Battle of the Bulge. For his service, he was the recipient of two Bronze Stars
and the Purple Heart
After his honorable discharge, Ken relocated to Concord in 1946 and enrolled in the first class at New England College, where he played on both the basketball and baseball teams. He then began a 23-year career as a typesetter with Merrimack Electro at the Rumford Press, where he assumed leadership positions with the workers' union.
Ken continued a long and distinguished career in public service with his appointment in 1969 by then Governor Walter Peterson as the Commandant of the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton. He served over two decades in that position and was instrumental in transforming the Home into a state of the art facility for New Hampshire veterans. His extraordinary service to the veterans of N.H. was recognized in 1993, when a new building at the facility was named in his honor. He also worked tirelessly on the initial development of the State Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen.
He served on the Concord City Council, the New Hampshire State Legislature, the Governor's Commission for the Handicapped, the Long Term Care Task Force, the Alzheimer's Disease Commission, and the Prisoner of War Commission. Ken was a Legislative Officer of the Department of Veterans Affairs, a member of the Vietnam Veterans Council, the Veterans Needs Assessment Commission, Chairman of the VFW Post 1631 Scholarship Committee, and was the former President of the National Association of State Veterans Home Administrators. He was a longtime active member of many local organizations, including American Legion Post 21, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Disabled American Veterans.
Ken was an avid and talented athlete who competed into his 50s. He was a renowned fast-pitch softball hurler known throughout New England. He coached American Legion Post 21 baseball for many years and also served as the District Director of American Legion Baseball. He was a player/coach on numerous local amateur basketball teams and was a mentor to many area youths. His passion for athletics continued throughout his life and, in his later years, he took great joy in attending sporting and other events involving his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Ken was a wonderful husband, father and Grandpa to his family. A caring and humble man, he had a keen sense of humor and was a renowned storyteller. He will be dearly missed by his family and many friends.
He was pre-deceased by sisters Wilda Harris and Isabelle Payne, and brother Robert Ewart.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, M. Elizabeth (Betty) (Gately) Tarr, son Thomas and wife Sandra of Laconia, son Michael and wife Diana of Danbury, Conn., daughter Tracey Tarr of Bow, and son John and his wife, Carolyn, of North Falmouth, Mass. Ken's grandchildren include Lori Derosier, Derek Tarr, Colin Tarr, Alissa Tarr, Aaron Phinney, Andrew Phinney, Rachel Wells, Liam Wells, Caitlyn Tarr, Julia Tarr and Isabel Tarr; and great-grandchildren Jacob Derosier, Matthew Derosier and McKenzie Tarr. In addition, he is survived by his sister-in-law Margaret Thorpe and her husband, Howard, of Concord, and numerous nieces and nephews.
The Bennett Funeral Home, Concord, is handling the arrangements. Calling hours are scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 22, from 4 to 7 p.m., at the chapel at 3 Church St. A celebration of his life is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 23, at 1 p.m. at the Bennett Funeral Home. A graveside service with military honors will immediately follow at Blossom Hill Cemetery.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations in his memory be made to the Concord Regional Visiting Nurse Association, 30 Pillsbury St. Concord, NH, 03301, or the New Hampshire Veterans Home Resident Benefit Fund, 139 Winter St. Tilton, NH, 03276.