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Major General Herman Jerry Carpenter

Maj. Gen. Herman Jerry Carpenter

Major General Herman J. Carpenter, formerly of Galvez, La., and a 43-year resident of Rancho Palos Verdes, passed away August 24, 2013 in Covington, LA., after several months of illness. He was 82. Jerry, as he was known by all, was born in Istrouma, La. on May 23, 1931 and raised on his grandparents' Galvez farm during the Depression. He attended Galvez Primary, Gonzales and Baton Rouge High Schools, and earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering (aeronautics) from LSU in 1952. Graduating as the cadet commander and the most distinguished military graduate of the LSU Reserve Officer Training Corps, Jerry was sworn to active duty with the U.S. Air Force and was ordered to California Institute of Technology for postgraduate study in aeronautical engineering where he earned an M.S. in 1953. Jerry served four years of active-duty service in California, Tennessee and Alabama, entered the Air Force Reserve in 1956, and returned to the Los Angeles area to continue what would become a distinguished 48-year civilian and military career. In 1966, after his refusal to let her off of a diving board without a kiss sparked a cross-country courtship, he married the former Gypsy J. Biggs of Baldwin, La., with whom he raised three sons, two cats and umpteen rabbits. During his 31 years of Reserve service, his duty assignments included the USAF Flight Test Center, Space and Missile Systems Organization, Contract Management Division, Defense Supply Agency, USAF headquarters at the Pentagon, and Space Division. He achieved the Reserve's highest rank, Major General, pinning his second star in 1984. Upon his Air-Force retirement in 1987, Jerry was awarded the Legion of Merit Medal for "exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements" in the nation's defense during the Cold War. Among his other military decorations were the Joint Service Commendation Medal and the National Defense Service Medal. Formerly with TRW and R & D Associates, Jerry founded Carpenter Research Corp. in 1983 and continued working closely with the military in missile-facility research, nuclear-weapon effects and liquified natural gas safety until his 2001 civilian retirement in California - yet still took time out to design the famous "Woblong" double-decker frisbee, all with the untiring help of his dear Gypsy. He was preceded in death by his parents, Herman W. Carpenter and the former Dena G. Brignac; and sisters, Jewell C. Beaty and Bobbie Jean C. Bassett. Jerry will be fondly remembered by his wife and three sons: Stephen of Youngsville, La.; Christian and wife, Bandana of Happy Valley, Ore.; Shaun and wife, Ashley of Mandeville, La.; two grandsons: Anand Carpenter Shrestha and Shaun Deke Carpenter; two granddaughters: Aidan and Ava Carpenter; and numerous nieces, cousins and friends in the Galvez, Baton Rouge and Los Angeles areas. He was an honest, hard-working, frugal, Godly man who stayed true to his humble upbringing; old-fashioned and strict, but with deep personal integrity, a kind heart, and a fondness for music, poetry, whistling tunes when he was especially happy, and telling stories of his childhood in old Galvez. Visitation and service will be at Carpenter's Chapel, 41181 Hwy. 933, Prairieville, La., viewing on Friday, August 30 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday, August 31 from 9 a.m., with service, military honors and interment commencing at 10 a.m. Saturday. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans at www.nationalww2museum.org, or the Paralyzed Veterans of America at www.pva.org. Please sign the guest book at www. dailybreeze.com/obits.

Published in Daily Breeze on Aug. 27, 2013
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