Home
Resources
More Obituaries for Edmund Carpenter
Looking for an obituary for a different person with this name?

Edmund Nelson Carpenter II

Notice Condolences

CARPENTER


EDMUND NELSON II, died peacefully at home Friday morning, December 19, 2008, surrounded by his immediate family. He was a war hero, an attorney, a statesman, and a lover of history and literature; he was an adoring and uniquely adored husband, father, grandfather, and friend. His life was devoted to country, the Law, social justice and - above all - family. Among innumerable other achievements, he was awarded a Bronze Star in World War II for successful covert missions flown in Dien Bien Phu, formerly French Indo-China. Working in military intelligence, he was a member of the small team that rescued the celebrated Doolittle Raiders, who had been trapped behind enemy lines following Pearl Harbor. He was proud of his service, and loved returning to Asia to re-visit places he had been.
Throughout his life he held myriad leadership positions in the worlds of Delaware and American law: as Deputy Attorney General for the State of Delaware; as Special Deputy Attorney General for the State of Delaware; as Chairman of several advisory committees for the Delaware Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; as President of the Delaware Bar Association; and, later, President of the American Judicature Society, which presented him with their Justice Award. He was honored to be a Director, and later President, of Delaware law firm Richards, Layton and Finger, where his community of colleagues was like a second family. After retiring, he worked tirelessly pro bono on various legislative reforms; in 2000, he co-founded Stand Up for what is Right and Just (SURJ), where - alongside former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh - he created a new movement for local legislative reform.
He served as Trustee or Trustee Emeritus for many organizations, including Princeton University, where he worked with his fellow trustees during the University's transition to coeducation. He always maintained that the school's motto, dei sub numine viget, actually meant God went to Princeton. Throughout his life he always found time to be an influential, often anonymous, philanthropist (a word he never would have used in describing himself) through his leadership of a private family foundation.
He wrote hundreds of Letters to the Editor of the Wilmington News Journal through the years, arguing for those things he believed in most passionately, perhaps above all the repeal of the Rockefeller-era drug laws that provided for mandatory minimum sentencing. He also held out hope for the decriminalization of drugs (a last Letter to the Editor on this subject was published one week before he died).
He loved and found great comfort in literature, and in poetry in particular, and was uniquely drawn to Alfred Tennyson's "Ulysses"; he loved the lines that read: "To follow knowledge like a sinking star, beyond the utmost bound of human thought . . . to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." He had unique charm and profound humility, and he wielded his infamous wit with subtlety and precision. He loved athletics, and opera. He was deeply proud to be an American. As a close friend of the family put it recently, he was the closest thing most of us will ever get to knowing James Bond.
He is survived by the love of his life, his wife, Carroll Morgan Carpenter; six loving children, Mary Wootten Carpenter, Jeff Carpenter, Katherine Revell Reynolds Carpenter, John Davis Gates, Jr., Ashley Gates Jansen, Lea du Pont Carpenter Brokaw, and their spouses; and thirteen loving and loved grandchildren. The family wishes to thank: Drs. Patricia Curtin, M.D., Stephen DeCherney, M.D., Kathleen McNicholas, M.D., Lanny Edelsohn, M.D., Gerald M. Lemole, M.D., Lee S. Cohen, M.D, and Phil Blatt, MD. They also wish to thank especially Elizabeth Lea Carpenter du Pont, Mr. Carpenter's beloved niece who introduced him to his wife, and after whom his youngest daughter was named. A private memorial service was held for immediate family in their home in Wilmington on Saturday, December 20, 2008. Please contact Hardin & Associates at 302-654-9923 for information regarding that Memorial Service, or e-mail [email protected]
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be sent to Princeton University (Princeton.edu) or to Christiana Care Health System of Delaware, P.O. Box 1668, Wilmington, DE 19899-1668.

Arrangements by CHANDLER FUNERAL HOMES & CREMATORY
www.chandlerfuneralhome.com

Published on Philly.com from Dec. 21 to Dec. 28, 2008
Read More