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Don W. Carpenter

March 21, 1927 - July 10, 2014 -


Don W. CarpenterDon Carpenter passed away peacefully with his family by his side on July 10, 2014.

Donald Wayne Carpenter was born on March 21, 1927 to William and Sarah Carpenter in Afton, Oklahoma. The third of five children, he was raised by his mother in Peoria Town after his father was killed in the mine. His rural Oklahoma heritage was a staple part of his being. A legendary character, Will Rogers, quoted he “never met a man he didn’t like,” so true was it of Don. He accumulated a great stable of long lasting friendships. Don spent his early years running the banks of Spring River and later worked for Carl Groves who became a mentor and father figure and had strong influence in molding Don’s character. Before serving our country at age 16 he followed in his father’s footsteps and was a hard rock miner at Eagle Picher Blue Goose Mine in Picher, Oklahoma.

After returning from the service he married his lifelong partner, Anna Maxine Gilmore on April 10, 1948. Shortly after they started their life together in ­Commerce, ­Oklahoma they moved west to Oregon. Once moved he began picking apples in Parkdale and built furniture at Doernbecher Furniture Company in Portland before ­starting at Lord Brother’s Contractors. He began his 35 year career as a laborer shoveling ditches to working himself up to Vice President. During this time Don and Anna purchased a property in Clackamas in 1958 where they raised their children. The ­Clackamas house not only served as a dairy/chicken/hog farm and horse boarding facility but also was the gathering spot for junior rodeo practice, 4-H/FFA field days and potlucks for the local agricultural community. It can be said by his friends ­during this time he was a great influence on their lives; he led by example, was a teacher, a friend and a horseman. The knowledge he gained from Carl Groves about horses never left him. He was noted for always having a good horse or two and was successful at breeding and running horses at race tracks throughout the west coast.

Briefly after retiring from Lord Brothers he purchased the Whistling Swan Ranch in Hubbard, Oregon where he began his second career as a cattle rancher. Some buy a new car or a house on the river, but he did what he loved with his retirement; ranching. Once again, he never gave himself any slack by working harder than he ever had running stocker cattle, hosting equine events and bailing hay.

Even though throughout the years he purchased ­multiple commercial properties and restaurants this was his accomplishment. He spent most of his time here —

it was his haven.

Although you would have never guessed from his small stature; he loved to eat. The Claim Steak, Dunkin Donuts and most recently The Wild Hare, Top O’ Hill, Burger Hut, McDonalds and Cutsforths were all a part of his daily routine. More importantly than the food at these places was the friendships he developed. With a firm handshake and a smile he greeted his buddies at each stop. He was a supporter of numerous youth livestock auctions, served as a director on the Canby Rodeo committee since 1993 and became one of two Canby Rodeo Honorary members in 2011. He was an integral part of growing rodeo success that it has reached today.

Although he has accomplished much in his 87 years of life, his proudest value was his family. He was a ­fixture at Canby Cougar sporting events, team ropings, and livestock shows. He was as relevant and actively involved in his great grandchildren’s lives as his ­children’s.

Grateful for having shared his life is his wife, Anna of Canby. His sons John (Judy) of Claremore ­Oklahoma and Ben (Susan) Carpenter of Oregon, his daughters Sue (Dave) McDonald and Hellen Carpenter of Canby, ­Oregon, sister Alene Dolan, eight grandchildren, ten great grandchildren, numerous nephews and nieces.

All that knew and loved Don are invited to celebrate his life in the rodeo arena at the Clackamas County ­Fairgrounds, August 23rd at 11am.