Col. Arch Carpenter departs on his last assignment

Special to the GatewayJune 11, 2014 

Surrounded by family members, Mary Ellen Carpenter receives the flag honoring her deceased husband, World War II and Korean war veteran Arch Carpenter.


Decorated World War II and Korean War veteran Arch Carpenter, a longtime community activist and 35-year member of the Gig Harbor Lions Club, answered his last call Saturday at the Haven of Rest Memorial Park.

A large gathering of friends of his and his wife of 68 years, Mary Ellen, assembled to bid farewell to the 89-year-old retired colonel. The group included members of the couple’s family of five children, eight grandchildren, four great grandchildren, fellow veterans of military service, Lions Club members, and many other friends and acquaintances Carpenter touched during his very active life of service both in and out of the military.

Pastor Russ Guppy, a family friend, officiated and the couple’s daughters, Connie Cagon and Karen Engen, and son, Brad Carpenter, shared memories of their father before attendees assembled at his inurnment site under clear, sun-swept skies. A U.S. Army Honor Guard from Joint Base Lewis-McChord performed a ceremony with Carpenter’s Flag of Honor before ceremoniously presenting it to Mary Ellen at the site. Following a volley fired in his honor and a moving rendition of “Taps” by the Honor Guard, many attending the services assembled for a reception at Harbor Place at Cottesmore to share memories of a life well lived. Arch Carpenter will be sorely missed in our community to which he gave so very much.

Hugh McMillan is a longtime freelance writer for the Gateway. He can be reached at

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