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John Carnes

John Robb Carnes, Jr., died August 19th, 2012, at Frasier Meadows. Born in Lima, Ohio, 1924, son of John Robb Carnes and Kathryn Wyre Carnes. He enrolled at the Univ. of Michigan and played clarinet in the marching band, until he enlisted in the US Army Air Corps. After basic training, he attended navigator school at Washington University in St. Louis, endured a troop transport across the Pacific, and was the navigator on a B-24 bomber stationed on the island of Morotai, south of the Phillipines. After the war, he returned to Michigan, earning bachelor's and master's degrees in applied math. In 1949, he married Corinne Ann Stevens of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and they moved to the still-classified community of Oak Ridge, TN, where he worked designing a nuclear-powered airplane. His older son Steven was born in 1950, and when it was apparent that a nuclear reactor shielded with concrete could never fly, he returned to Ann Arbor to begin a PhD in philosophy. His younger son, Benjamin, arrived in 1953. In 1956, he was offered a faculty position at Purdue in Indiana, but to the everlasting gratitude of his family, he instead became an instructor at CU in the Philosophy Department. The family spent that first brutal winter in a well-ventilated cottage in Chautauqua, and with two other faculty families, and subdivided 14 acres on south Cherryvale. The family bought a placer claim west of Nederland and built a rustic cabin that continues as a refuge from hot summer days. He became a full professor and was asked to be Interim Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences, which lasted 17 years. He and Dean Bill Briggs oversaw many changes in the college, until both simultaneously returned to teaching. In 1975, he did philosophical research on a sabbatical year at the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland. His son Steve accompanied him, and they enjoyed learning of their Scottish heritage, sampled local products (chiefly haggis and single malt), and explored the country. He married Janice Jacobson in 1976, and was stepfather to her children, Eric, Calla, and Helen. They lived in Winnipeg, Manitoba for a year while Jan did her residency in neuro-psychology, and he wrote a book, "Axiomatics and Dogmatics", published in 1982. In 1988, he received the University's Stearns Award for extraordinary achievement and service, and finally retired as Professor Emeritus. John and Jan moved to Longmont and were active in the Boulder County Nature Association, making many bird watching trips throughout the western US, and to the Pantanal basin in Brazil. Through his adult life, he played clarinet, and formed a woodwind quintet that played locally. He sang with Cantabile, a vocal ensemble. He enjoyed making his own wine, experimenting with various local fruits, and favorite authors included Ogden Nash and Walt "Pogo" Kelly. He is survived by older sister Kay Carnes Nathan, of San Antonio, TX; son Steve Carnes (Barbara Kraus) and children Greta and Lorrie of Boulder; son Ben Carnes (Pauli) and children Joe and John of Woodland Hills, CA; stepdaughter Calla Jacobson (Andy) and daughter Manya of Manitou Springs; stepson Eric Moon (Lia) and daughter Cora, and stepdaughter Helen Jacobson and daughter Anika of Denver. His ashes will be scattered at favorite locations around Boulder. A memorial gathering will be held Saturday, December 8th, at 2 p.m., in the Sky Lounge at Frasier Meadows. All are welcomed to come celebrate his life.


Published in The Boulder Daily Camera on Nov. 25, 2012
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