Charles Ray Carpenter

November 1, 1927 – January 6, 2020

Charles Ray Carpenter, 92, of Wetumpka, Ala., beloved husband, father, grandfather and devoted member of the Auburn family, passed peacefully from this life on Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. Born on Nov. 1, 1927, to William Dallas Carpenter and Alice Ethel Morris Carpenter in Ashland, Ala., he was the sixth of eight children, surviving all of his brothers and sisters: James Gordon Carpenter, Mary Carpenter Panell, Jeanette Carpenter Clarke, LaRue Carpenter Hunt, Merle Carpenter Sumners, Wayne Dallas Carpenter and Gerald Gwin Carpenter.

Ray grew up in a world of Model As and mules on a Clay County farm. He remembered fondly his football days at Ashland High School, where he was the all-important center on their single-wing offense. He was affectionately known as “Goosebill” to his teammates. During his senior year in high school, he volunteered to serve his country in World War II, but was told not to report due to the end of the war. (Timing is everything.)

He came to Elmore County for a job as a forest ranger with the Alabama Forestry Commission, and for 35 years helped control and prevent forest fires in the county. Yes, he was the real Smokey Bear. He married Dorothy Nell McCullers in 1948, a marriage that would last until his death and produce two exceptional sons – Michael Ray Carpenter and Jerry Lynn Carpenter (June Evans) – of whom both were very proud. Ray and Dot spent their entire careers serving in Alabama's Forestry Commission, retiring from that life in 1982. They both stayed very busy afterwards – with Ray working in the garden and planting trees. Retirement also meant spending more time with their three granddaughters – Leslie Rae Carpenter Scarborough (Douglas), Lynlee Maura Carpenter, and Lauren Elizabeth Carpenter. Papa Ray was, and continues to be, their hero.

In retirement, Ray was an active servant leader, working at the polls during dozens of elections for decades. He was a member of the Wetumpka Lions Club for a time and a longtime member of First Baptist Church of Wetumpka – serving as a deacon, RA leader, resident bus driver, Wednesday night supper volunteer, and, later, as a receipt counter (the coffee and doughnuts were great). During his granddaughters' years in high school, and for several years afterwards, he volunteered his time with the Wetumpka High School football team, mowing the grass at Hohenberg Field. Through his service to his church and community, he impacted innumerable lives and was loved and respected by all who knew him.

Ray is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren, and by countless nieces, nephews and cousins. Services were held at the First Baptist Church of Wetumpka on Friday, Jan. 10, 2020, with Dr. James Troglen officiating and burial was in Pine View Memorial Gardens. Pall Bearers were Joe Brown, David Carpenter, Sonny Clarke, Benny Hunt, Andrew McCullers, Sonny Robinson, Steve Sumners, and Larry Teel. Honorary Pall Bearers were Aubrey Bush, Wayne Davis, Edward McCullers, Fred Slaughter, and Henderson Traylor. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or to the charity of your choice.

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