Kenneth William Carpenter
Dr. Kenneth William Carpenter, 95, of Wichita Falls, Texas, died Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013.
Memorials may be made to the music ministry of The Church at Horseshoe Bay, P.O. Box 8295, Horseshoe Bay, TX 78657.
Mr. Carpenter was born March 24, 1918, in Maysville, Mo., the son of Gladys Redman Carpenter and Charles Orville Carpenter. He married Helen Marie Mitchell in 1940.
He grew up in Maysville and moved to Des Moines as a young boy. He attended Roosevelt High School.
He got his first saxophone in sixth grade. As an eighth grader, he joined the Bob Throckmorton Dance Orchestra, which he later purchased.
Playing in dance bands, often seven nights a week, helped pay his way through school at Drake University, where he earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music and where he met his wife.
He was a World War II veteran and served as a warrant officer for four years. During this time, he directed the U.S. Army Air Corps concert, marching and dance bands from Pampa, Texas, to Calcutta, India, and Shanghai, China.
He was the commander of the 685th Army Air Corps Band and was attached to the 14th Air Force Flying Tigers.
Throughout his 42 years of music education directing bands and choruses, he taught thousands of students throughout Iowa, South Dakota and Colorado to appreciate and love music. Many of his students received Division I ratings at state music contests. Led by his example, some students became music educators and professional musicians.
He was a past president of the Iowa Bandmasters Association.
While teaching at Parsons College in Fairfield, he earned a doctorate in music from the University of Iowa. His dissertation, “The History of the United States Marine Band,” was the first published history of the Marine Band. A highlight in recent years was a chance to direct the U.S. Marine Band while it was on tour.
Upon retirement, the couple moved to the Highland Lakes area of Texas in 1982. Shortly after arriving, the Carpenters started The Flashbacks big band, playing dance music from the 1930s and ’40s. The band still plays throughout the hill country area of Texas providing entertainment for those who enjoy dancing to the big band sound.
The coupled moved to Marble Falls, Texas, in 1989, where they lived for 23 years.
He was a member of The Church at Horseshoe Bay, Texas, and sang in the church choir.
He also sang in the Highland Lakes Men’s Chorus and played lead saxophone in The Flashbacks big band.
He enjoyed photography and boating of any kind. He built his own 23-foot wooden sailboat.
In June of 2012, the couple moved to a retirement home in Wichita Falls, to be near their youngest daughter.
Survivors include his wife, Helen; two daughters, Susan Haga and spouse Curt of Eden Prairie, Minn., and Janelle Gulbranson and spouse Steven of Wichita Falls; two sons, Daniel Carpenter and spouse Kathryn of Garland, Texas, and Thomas Carpenter and spouse Julie of Eugene, Ore.; 10 grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; stepmother, Pauline Carpenter; and one brother, Jerry Carpenter.