Lifelong farmer, U.S. Army veteran, athlete and sports fan James Virgil Carpenter of Greenwood, Mo., passed away Aug. 6, 2021.
Mr. Carpenter, 89, was born May 2, 1932, in Lee’s Summit, to William G. Carpenter and Lena (Long) Carpenter. He graduated from Lee’s Summit High School and then Graceland College, a junior college in Lamoni, Iowa. He earned an agriculture degree from South Dakota State University (SDSU) in Brookings, S.D. In college, he ran track and played basketball and football, and retained a fondness for both Graceland and SDSU throughout his life.He married Jane (Goode) Carpenter on June 25, 1958, at First Baptist Church in Princeton, W.Va. She preceded him in death Sept. 17, 2019.
Mr. Carpenter grew up on a dairy farm in Greenwood and worked with mules as a boy and young man. He returned to operate the dairy following college and military service, and resided there the rest of his life. He served as an officer in the U.S. Army’s quartermaster corps and served as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve for more than three decades.
During his life, he worked on the farm raising Holstein dairy cattle and an assortment of beef cattle. He had an affinity for the Galloway breed from Scotland.He also worked as a supervisor at the Wagner Electric brake manufacturing plant in Kansas City, Mo., was employed at the Pfizer animal health plant in Lee’s Summit, and was in the steelworker union at a tower-building company. Earlier in his life, he hung U.S. mail pouches in Greenwood that were grabbed by passing trains and he gathered and delivered pouches thrown from cabooses. In deep snow, he’d rely on a Model T Ford to get the job done.
He was a lifelong active member of the Lee’s Summit First Christian Church, where he taught Sunday school for a number of years. He served on the Greenwood City Council and the Greenwood Zoning Board, while also helping with 4-H and FFA.He was active for decades in the Heart of America Studebaker Club, played competitive softball into his mid-70s and was loyal to the Kansas City Athletics and Royals.
He was part of the Lee’s Summit Historical Society and was a repository of general history about Greenwood. He delighted in sharing stories of bizarre and amusing events about his hometown. For many years, he voluntarily assembled a weekly column for the Lee’s Summit Journal that served to remind folks of historic events in the area.He was an avid stamp collector, read widely, if eccentrically, with a special interest in geography, history and railroads. He appreciated Minneapolis Moline tractors, whether they functioned or not. He helped take care of the Greenwood Cemetery and was a longstanding member of the cemetery board.
Survivors include his sister, Annette Howk of St. Joseph, Mo.; four children and their partners, Stephen Carpenter and Christine Baeumler of St. Paul, Minn.; Tim Carpenter and Jill Hummels, of Lawrence, Kan.; Carolyn and Chris Stanley, of Bloomington, Minn.; and Susan Zinkl and Bruce Stene, of St. Paul; and four grandchildren, Haley and Tess Carpenter, of Lawrence; and Lena and Sam Zinkl, of St. Paul.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a memorial service at Lee’s Summit Christian Church and graveside service at Mount Moriah Cemetery South in Kansas City, Mo., will be planned for a later date.