Robert C. Carpenter, Sr., a former deputy fire chief in Oregon whose service as a firefighter spanned 40 years, died in his home yesterday of complications of leukemia. He was 84.
Oregon Mayor Marge Brown said she ordered the city's flag lowered to half-staff as soon as she learned of Mr. Carpenter's death yesterday morning.
"It will remain that way until after the funeral on Tuesday," Ms. Brown said. "If you never had a chance to meet him, you missed knowing one of the greatest citizens of Oregon."
Mayor Brown said her family and Mr. Carpenter went back a long way. Her brother, Jimmy TenEyck, and Mr. Carpenter joined the Army together during World War II and became medics. When Jimmy was killed in action in Italy in 1944, it was Mr. Carpenter who retrieved his body.
Ken DeWitt, Oregon's district chief No. 3, said Mr. Carpenter was a firefighter before the Oregon department even existed.
Mr. Carpenter was a volunteer with the Harbor View department, which became the Oregon Township department and then the Oregon city department.
Mr. Carpenter was Mr. DeWitt's predecessor in the district chief's position at the fire station on Bayshore Road.
"He was like a father to me," Chief DeWitt said. "He was one of the greatest individuals I ever knew. He was liked by all, and he was a leader."
Bill Flanagan, who retired three years ago as Oregon's assistant fire chief, said much the same. "He was a super individual. He was a very dedicated firefighter," he explained.
Mr. Carpenter received many honors when he retired from the fire department in 1986. The Lucas County commissioners presented him with a commendation for his 40 years of service to the Oregon area. He also received plaques from the Ohio Senate and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo).
That same year, Mr. Carpenter retired from the Standard Oil Co., which today is BP, where he was employed for 38 years.
Mr. Carpenter was born in Columbus and grew up in Oregon. He graduated from Clay High School, where he played on the football, baseball, and basketball teams, his daughter, Sherry Hymore, said.
He and his wife, Joann, were high school sweethearts, and married in 1946. Soon after, he was honorably discharged from the Army. Mrs. Carpenter died in 1998.
In addition to their own children, the couple raised Mr. Carpenter's niece, Terrie Brecht, after her parents died.
At Standard Oil, he started as an hourly worker and retired as a supervisor. He was active in starting what today is the Bay Area Credit Union, and served as a charter board member.
In retirement, he enjoyed hunting moose and deer in Canada, playing golf, and woodworking, his daughter said.
"He was big on respect and dignity and helping people," Mrs. Hymore said. "He was a mentor for a lot of firemen."
Surviving are his daughters, Sherry Hymore, Robin Nichpor, and Nancy Donley; son, Robert, Jr., nine grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday in the Hoeflinger-Bolander Funeral Home, Oregon, where the body will be from 2 to 9 p.m. tomorrow and Monday and a Fireman's Memorial Service will be at 7:30 p.m. Monday.
The family request tributes to Hospice of Northwest Ohio or St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.