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Carpenter Jr., Delma Rae

Carpenter Jr., Delma Rae

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April 15, 1928 May 26, 2020 Delma Rae Carpenter Jr., 92, of Lexington, died on Tuesday, May 26, 2020, at Roanoke Memorial Hospital. He was born on April 15, 1928, in Salem, Virginia, the son of the late Delma Rae Carpenter Sr. and Gladys Jamison Carpenter. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Jane Grant Carpenter who he married on August 2, 1952 and a daughter Cita Anne. Rae graduated from Roanoke College in 1949 with a B.S. in Physics and Mathematics, earned a M.S. degree from Cornell University in 1951 (physics and math) and attended University of Virginia where he received a Ph.D. in Experimental Physics in 1957. He was employed by Virginia Military Institute while still working on his Masters degree, ultimately becoming a professor teaching physics and serving as the physics department head at VMI from 1969 until 1974. Rae served in other capacities at VMI, including 22 years as Director of Research at VMI Research Laboratories from 1965-1985 and 1993-1994. Teaching was a life calling for Rae. He was constantly searching for more avenues to teach and educate. He took a semester break from VMI to participate as a Visiting Professor at both the United States Military Academy in 1985 and Auburn University in 1986. During the summers, taught twenty different short courses since 1973 on Lecture Demonstrations. He also taught high school students for five summers at the Virginia Governor's School for the Gifted, an opportunity which he particularly enjoyed. In partnership with his colleague and good friend Dick Minnix, he went on to co-author and publish The Dick and Rae Physics Demo Notebook, a collection of demos which he performed with Dick Minnix at all levels of K-12 schools in many parts of the country. Rotary was a passion for Rae, and he firmly believed in the premise of "Service Beyond Self". He was a steady participants in multiple aspects of Rotary, both locally and internationally. A regular member of the Lexington Rotary Club, he served in the capacity of President in the early years (1966-67), and later at the state level as Lt. Governor (1993-96), District Governor (1997-98). In his later years turned his focus to recruiting for clubs around Virginia as the Club Extension Chair for Rotary International (1998-2008). He also took opportunities to travel internationally for Rotary to Australia, and worked on the Membership Development Committee for Rotary International. Faith and community was important to Rae, and both were woven into his everyday life. He was a long time member of the Lexington Presbyterian Church, serving as a Deacon, Elder and most recently Treasurer. He served on multiple boards: the Science Museum of Virginia, the VMI Foundation, the Montreat Conference Center Development Foundation, and W.E. Skelton 4-H Conference Center at Smith Mountain Lake. He moved to Kendal of Lexington where he participated He also preformed a variety of roles for Kendal at Lexington on the residents council, serving as both Secretary and President. Surviving are his children, Delma Rae Carpenter III (Thekla Nevius), Gordon Grant Carpenter (Susan Broyles), Barbara Elizabeth Carpenter Lutz (David Harold); four grandchildren, Catherine Carpenter, Michael Carpenter, Tucker Lutz and William Lutz; and one great-grandchild, Lincoln Rae Carpenter. A private graveside service will be held at Stonewall Jackson Cemetery with Rev. William Klein officiating. In lieu of flowers donations may be given to Lexington Presbyterian Church, 120 S. Main Street, Lexington, VA 24450 or Kendal of Lexington, 170 Kendal Drive, Lexington, VA 24450. Arrangements by Harrison Funeral Home & Crematory, Lexington, VA.


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john b farley

COL Carpenter will be remembered as a great example of what makes a great educator. Truly a life well- lived. You have my condolences.

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