Harry A. Carpenter Jr., 85, civic activist

January 28, 2003|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Harry Albert Carpenter Jr., a retired city schools administrator and community activist, died Friday of cardiac arrest at the Wesley Home in Mount Washington. The Ashburton resident was 85.

Before his 1973 retirement from the public school system, he helped run Project Go, which helped city high school seniors get jobs with local industries. He was also a founding member of BUILD - Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development.

He had earlier been a counselor at Harlem Park Junior High and Johnston Square Elementary. He taught at School No. 101 at Jefferson and Caroline streets, Thomas G. Hayes Elementary at Jefferson and Bond streets, and John H. Murphy Elementary at Mosher and Gilmor streets.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Argyle Avenue, he was a 1934 graduate of Douglass High School. He earned a diploma at what is now Coppin State College, and a bachelor's degree from Morgan State University. He earned a master's degree from New York University, and also studied at the University of Maryland, College Park, and the University of Southern California at Los Angeles.

As a young man, he helped run New Albert Hall, a sports center his father built in the 1200 block of Pennsylvania Ave.

"He was a person who always gave of himself in the trenches, making sure the civil rights activists had a support system," said the Rev. Vernon Dobson, pastor of Union Baptist Church. "He helped develop BUILD into the great organization it is, helping people against organized money."

In the 1970s, Mr. Carpenter donated a family home to Greenwillow Corp., a group that developed housing in the Upton neighborhood.

"He was one of the most generous spirits we've known in our community for many years," said the Rev. Marion Bascom, retired pastor of Douglas Memorial Community Church. "He was a loyal churchman and a man of great faith."

Mr. Carpenter was active with the Boy Scouts and the Druid Hill Avenue YMCA, and involved in an Ashburton safety patrol. He also played bridge and enjoyed duckpin bowling.

Services will be held at noon Feb. 8 at Union Baptist, 1219 Druid Hill Ave., where Mr. Carpenter was a lifelong member and secretary of the church trustee board for 44 years.

Survivors include his wife of 50 years, the former Leona Williams; a son, Harry Albert Carpenter III of Silver Spring; and a daughter, Lynn Marie Coleman of Clarksville.

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