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Capt Walter Starling “Tuffy” Carpenter

Photo added by George Bacon

Capt Walter Starling “Tuffy” Carpenter

  • Birth 25 Aug 1922 Haywood, Pittsburg County, Oklahoma, USA
  • Death 7 Jan 2008 Winslow, Navajo County, Arizona, USA
  • Burial Holbrook, Navajo County, Arizona, USA
  • Memorial ID 24014421

Walter S. "Tuffy" Carpenter, 85, died on Monday, Jan. 7, 2008. Walter was born Aug. 25, 1922, in Haywood, Okla., the son of Berta and Mede Starling Carpenter. Following the death of his father, the family moved to Holbrook in 1930. He graduated from Holbrook High School in 1940, and attended Arizona State Teachers College in Flagstaff for two years before accepting a commission in the U.S Army Air Forces. He flew 35 missions during World War II as a
B-17 bombardier with the 324th Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group (Heavy), the "Ragged Irregulars," stationed at the Royal Air Force Base in Bassingbourn, England. He was honorably discharged in October 1945, then joined the Air Force Reserve, retiring as a captain in 1957. He returned home in August 1945, and married his childhood sweetheart, Addine McSpadden, on Nov. 1, 1945, in Holbrook.
Tuffy began his career in education as a second grade teacher and disciplinarian at Whiteriver Indian School. He then attended Greeley State Teachers College in Colorado to finish work on his degree and obtain his teaching credentials. Following graduation, he taught and coached at the Albuquerque Indian School and in Roswell, N.M. During the summers, he worked on a master's degree. His next post was as principal of the public school for employees' children in Whiteriver. While there, he built the Whiteriver schools and integrated the Apache students into the public school system. He received his master's degree in 1954. After six years in the Whiteriver post, he took a job as superintendent of the Ganado Schools. He spent the next 10 years running the elementary school while designing and building new junior high and high schools. He also selected all of the personnel, recruiting top teachers from Phoenix and across the United States. The family returned to Holbrook in 1968, where Walter served as city manager from 1968-73. In 1973, he was selected as administrator of Holbrook Hospital.

He was a founding board member of Northland Pioneer College, and in 1977, four years after it was founded, went to work as assistant to the president of NPC. He retired Jan. 1, 1984. Tuffy served on the Holbrook Planning and Zoning Commission, and was elected to the Holbrook City Council, serving one term as mayor.

He was a member of the United Methodist Church of Holbrook, Chalcedony Lodge No. 6, F.&A.M., in Holbrook and Holbrook Elks Lodge No. 2450, and was an emeritus member of the Petrified Forest Museum Association Board of Directors. He was the recipient of the NPC Institutional Rudder Award in 1983, and the Joy Nevin Lifetime Service Award in 2005.

Tuffy was a raconteur in the truest sense of the word. He held his ground from an early age and created his own opportunities. His was a life well lived. He was well loved and will be truly missed by his family and friends.

Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Addine; his two sons, Ross (Shari) Carpenter and Charlie (Irma) Carpenter; his daughter, Starla (George)Bacon; six grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Family Members

Half Siblings

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  • Created by: George Bacon
  • Added: 17 Jan 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 24014421
  • George Bacon
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Capt Walter Starling “Tuffy” Carpenter (25 Aug 1922–7 Jan 2008), Find A Grave Memorial no. 24014421, citing Holbrook Cemetery, Holbrook, Navajo County, Arizona, USA ; Maintained by George Bacon (contributor 46523227) .