Norman Milton Carpenter, 80, died at home in Porterville, CA, on Dec.12, 2020, after a brief illness with a rare form of heart failure complicated by fungal meningitis from Valley Fever. Norm was the oldest child of Milton and Anne Pydych Carpenter and was born in Greenfield, MA, on October 7, 1940. Norm went to elementary school in Greenfield then to Deerfield Academy [DA] in Old Deerfield, MA, where he graduated in 1960. Norm was in a ski jumping accident while attending DA. He was in a coma for weeks with a long rehabilitation. He graduated from DA in 1960. He furthered his education at the University of MA Amherst graduating in 1964 with a B.S. in Landscape Architecture. He was a member of the varsity ski team both at Deerfield and UMass. He was assistant golf pro at the Greenfield Country Club and a member of the Edelweiss Ski Club.
Norm entered the Army in October 1964, commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Corp of Engineers. He was an instructor at the Army Engineer School at Fort Belvoir in Virginia before attending the Basic Officers Engineers Course. He spent 4 years on active duty in the Army; one year spent in a combat zone in Vietnam. He was a member of the 63rd Engineering Battalion and earned the Bronze Star for meritorious service in Vietnam as a 1st Lieutenant. While on R&R in Japan he met his future wife, Yumiko Yano. They were married in Colorado Springs, CO, on November 8, 1969. They had one child, Christie, born in California.
After an honorable discharge from the Army, Norm went into the reserves and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. He then became a 40+ year United States Forest Service employee. During those years, he worked for the Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks in Harrisburg, PA, and ultimately served as Landscape Architect for the Tahoe and Sequoia National Forests and as Human Resource Unit Leader on wild land fire teams. He also was a long term member and Secretary of the Giant Sequoia National Monument Association.
Norm was also a very active 35+ year member of the Porterville Breakfast Lions where he served as President, Secretary, Treasurer, and District Zone Chairman. When retired from the USFS, Norm and his wife, Yumi, became Master Gardeners and were involved in local volunteer work. As horticultural experts, Norm and Yumi had beautiful gardens at their home and raised beautiful fruit bearing trees. He was generous with his yield, sending oranges to family in Massachusetts and New Hampshire as well as those in need in his community. He worked on the beautification of Tule CA National Park.
Norm and Yumi were a beloved part of Hillside Community Church for many years. They both had hearts to serve. Norm served faithfully in many areas of the church. He was loved by the children as he served in Sunday School, children’s church, AWANA, and “Path 56.” He provided scholarships for many children and youth to attend camps. He helped lead the “Young At Heart” group for seniors. He also had a heart to grow in the Lord and was a faithful member of Bible study groups. He used his landscaping skills to make the grounds attractive.
Norm was predeceased by his wife, Yumiko, on January 7, 2014. He is survived by his daughter Christie, currently of Tennessee; two sisters, Virginia Smith of Conway, NH, and Cathy Hansen and her husband Richard of North Conway, NH; and several cousins, nieces, and nephews. Norm’s life was a great example of generosity, selflessness, and deep desire to help and serve others.
Burial will be at the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Deerfield, MA, at a later date in 2021.