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In Memory

Bill Carpenter

Bill Carpenter

While I did not locate an obituary, I did find this column by Jim Carnett [CMHS Class of 1962 that is as careing as an obituary I have ever read.    Larry M

By Jim Carnett  

Fond memories of a trusty sidekick

Bill Carpenter was my best friend in high school and college, and we remained friends the rest of our lives.

He died the other day at 69. I didn't see it coming.

Funny, the night before he died I had a dream about him. My wife, Hedy, and I were in North Carolina visiting our daughter and four grandchildren. I told Hedy about the dream the next morning.

"I've got to give Bill a call as soon as we get home," I lamented.

He died the night we arrived.

We grew up together in Costa Mesa/Santa Ana Heights. I graduated from Costa Mesa High in 1962, he in '63. We both went to Orange Coast College.

For hundreds of hours during high school and beyond we scuffled in one-on-one basketball games on my driveway. Like most houses in our neighborhood, we had a basketball hoop above the garage door. How many times did we slam each other into that door while preventing a lay-up?

Bill was 6-foot 3; I was 5-foot 9. He'd systematically back me into the low post, then turn and power the ball over me. I knew exactly what he was going to do, and I couldn't stop it.

All the while, he'd call out the play-by-play: "He shoots, he scores!"

We'd purposely see to it that a window was left ajar in our high school gym on Friday nights. We'd return to play on Saturdays and Sundays. We'd also play in the old gym at OCC.

Carpenter and I played our version of wiffle ball in his backyard. Wiffle balls, as far as we knew, didn't exist at that time. So we used small plastic lemon juice containers. Hence, our game was "Lemon Ball." You could plug the spout with a finger and make the "ball" dance to the plate.

We used a broom handle for a bat.

We played over-the-line with a real baseball and bat at Mesa High and also in OCC's LeBard Stadium.

We body-surfed at 17th Street.

We double-dated to the prom.

I transferred to OCC in 1962. Bill, then a Mesa senior, would occasionally sneak over to visit me on OCC's campus. But he tried to stay out of trouble. He started for Mesa's football team.

I introduced him to my group of new friends in OCC's Drama Department. He came to our rehearsals and hung out with us. The next year, I played Launce in OCC's production of Shakespeare's "Two Gentlemen of Verona." He was my sidekick, Speed. Perfect.

Bill bought a nifty 1961 Chevy Corvair, and he and I raced all over town. We went to Harbor Shopping Center, the beach, football and basketball games, dances, rehearsals, midnight meals at Bob's Big Boy, and parties on the Peninsula.

Those were great days.

I joined the Army in 1964. I saw Carpenter every time I came home on leave. When I returned from overseas duty in 1967, he'd married.

Following my discharge, I enrolled at OCC. Bill got me a part-time job at a Santa Ana paint store where he worked. I was there for two years before completing my A.A. degree and transferring to Cal State Fullerton.

On the job, Bill and I would sneak into a storeroom and play "basketball," shooting wadded wallpaper balls into a trashcan. He still dunked over me.

Bill and I continued to be friends long after I finished college. We played on the same basketball team one night a week at a Boys Club. He came to visit me at OCC where I held down an administrative post.

In 2006, I told him I had Parkinson's. He was distraught.

Parkinson's affects 1% of the population. What was the possibility of him getting it too? Infinitesimal.

Several years later Bill described to me symptoms he'd been experiencing. I told him to see a neurologist.

His suspicions were confirmed. Parkinson's.

I attended Bill's funeral Saturday. He's now beyond the tremors, the shuffling gait and the cognitive deficits. He's with the Lord and backing some sap into the low post.

I miss the Big Guy.

JIM CARNETT, who lives in Costa Mesa, worked for Orange Coast College for 37 years.

Published November 16, 2015 in the Daily Pilot / Los Angeles Daily Times

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07/11/16 02:38 PM #1    

Judy Wilson (Allen)

Oh my, total surprise. I remember him in high school as one of the really nice persons. Sorry to heat this. Prayers to his family and loved ones..

07/12/16 07:35 AM #2    

Jim Lahodny

Spent a lot of time at Bill's house when we were young (lived right down the street).  Was a great friend and he will be missed.

07/12/16 08:01 AM #3    

Edwin Noonan

Bill and I go back along time. His father work for my dad in the painting business. We grew up together playing little league and other sports. Then there standard paints and Vista paints. My bother and I will miss him dearly as a buddy and friend. God bless your family and have fun in heaven.

07/12/16 10:02 AM #4    

Sharon Stanberry (Jones)

Bill was a true gentleman. We served on Student Council together he was ASB Vice President and I was Secretary. We doubled to the prom together with Jim Carnett '62 and Marge Samuels '63. Jim's article is the best tribute to Bill and I am thankful he wrote it so all of us could share the great memories of a great person. 

Sharon Stanberry jones

07/12/16 10:39 AM #5    

Carol Wilson (Wilt)

I was saddened to hear this news of Bill's passing. He was indeed a gentleman, always complimentary, calm & in control. Luckily, I was able to visit with him at the 50 year class reunion. He was struggling with Parkinson's, but handling it well. Rest in peace dear classmate.

07/12/16 01:04 PM #6    

Jeffrey Lear

I AM SHOCKED!  This is so sudden... I had not know if he was in ill health... if that was the case, we should have had a prayer chain for whatever Bill was suffering from... I have some fond memories of Bill... he was quite a nice guy, intelligent and he had a great personality.  The last time I saw him was at our 40th Reunion.  He was telling me how sucessful his business was and that he was making really good money in Real Estate. I met Bill's wife that night at the reunion and I have several pictures of them and 'our crew'... I wish I could add a few pix to this email, but I don't see an attachment button.  Well, all I can say is "rest in peace Bill".  I pray all of us will reunite in heaven once again, Amen!

Blessings to you all,

Jeffrey Lear

2 Cor 5:6-10  6.  Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7.  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8.  We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9.  Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him. 10.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

 P. S.  I see a "Reunion Photos" button on left.   Perhaps I will upload my album… stay tuned!  ;-)



07/13/16 02:22 AM #7    

Donavene Ahier (Jaycox)

Just saw this - I've been away.  Gosh, what a surprise to hear about Bill.  He was such a kind and nice person.  Always a smile and sweet word.  My prayers I send to his family... 

07/13/16 11:46 AM #8    

Dixie Curtiss (Fuller)

My deepest condolences to Bill's family.  He was a very kind man and had manners.  He liked to laugh and smile.   I am glad I knew him.

07/14/16 10:02 AM #9    

Jack Hutter

Sad to hear about Bill passing. Bill was one of the nicest, ez-going and soft spoken person we clasmsates came to know. R.I.P. my friend and prayer to Blii family.


07/15/16 01:46 PM #10    

Diane Chapman (Swarts)

So sorry to hear this, had many a great dance with Bill over the years.  Blessings to his family.

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