Official Obituary of

Harold G. "Rip" Carpenter

June 29, 1935 ~ February 23, 2024 (age 88) 88 Years Old

Harold Carpenter Obituary

Harold G. “Rip” Carpenter, 88, of Clayton, N.Y., passed away peacefully on February 23, 2024, at his home in Clayton surrounded by loving family and caregivers. The family will be forever grateful to all of his caregivers, especially Pam and Kelly, who were always so kind and understanding and truly became part of our family.

Harold was born in Alexandria Bay, N.Y., on June 29, 1935, son of Gerald B. and Violet Beebe Carpenter. The family moved to Clayton, and Harold grew up there. He attended Clayton Central School where he played football, and while still in high school, he joined the Naval Reserve. After graduation, he worked with his father in a small construction business, building homes and motels in the Clayton area until 1956 when he served two years of active duty in the Navy. He was assigned first to the U.S.S. Rigel (AF-58) and then to the U.S.S Hartley, a destroyer escort with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea. He earned the Armed Forces Reserve Medal and was honorably discharged in 1997 to the retired reserve with the rank of Hull Technician Chief.

While still in the Navy on November 17, 1957, Harold married Shirley Adah Dixon who also lived in Clayton, and he often said “she was the best thing that ever happened to me.” They settled in Clayton where Harold continued to work for his father’s construction company until 1962 when that business was dissolved. Harold then joined the crew at Wingerath Bros., where he worked for 18 years as a carpenter foreman, general foreman, and project manager. During this time, he joined the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, and in 2017 he was issued the gold card to honor his 50 years of continuous membership. In 1982, Harold was hired as clerk of the works for the energy saving and repair project for the Thousand Islands Central School District. In 1983, that school district created the Supervisor of Building and Grounds position. Harold was immediately hired and held that job until his retirement in 1998. Harold earned the ultimate recognition in school facility management when he was named Certified Director of Facilities, one of only 30 in New York State to have received this honor at that time.

In addition to his naval career and construction work, Harold was also a successful businessman. For many years, he owned and operated the Kleen-It-Center Laundromat in partnership with William Dominy and Richard Amo. He also owned and operated the Island Treasures antique shop with his daughter, Tracy Brabant. Additionally, he was a licensed real estate broker and appraiser, working first for Kemp Realty in Clayton and then from his own office. His hobby was coin collecting, and for a short time, he, along with his brother, Cleve, owned a coin shop in Watertown.

Harold always enjoyed and had a great appreciation for the outdoors and spent many happy hours on Grindstone Island in the St. Lawrence River and also on Butterfield Lake where he owned a summer cottage and participated in the Butterfield Lake Association and the Indian River Lakes Conservancy. His great love was snowmobiling, and he, along with “Catman” Bob Ingerson, were founding members of the Thousand Islands Snowmobile Club. Harold was instrumental in obtaining land, helping to raise funds, and supervising the construction of the snowmobile club building. Harold and Bob not only rode the local trails but also frequently traveled to Barnes Corners, northern Quebec and Ontario, and one memorable winter they flew to Bozeman, Montana, where they rode on the trails in Yellowstone National Park as well as along the Madison River and into the Grand Tetons.

Harold was active in community affairs and served on the town and village of Clayton Joint Zoning Board of Appeals. Upon his retirement in 2016 after more than twenty years of service, Mayor Norma Zimmer praised his work. She stated that his contributions had greatly impacted our area in a positive way that will be remembered and appreciated for many years to come. He belonged to the American Legion at Colon-Couch post 821 in Clayton for more than 38 years. He was a member of Christ Episcopal Church in Clayton where he worked hard to keep the front doors varnished and the building in good condition.

Harold enjoyed traveling, and during his naval career, he visited Greece, Italy, and ports throughout the Caribbean. Later in life, he and Shirley traveled across Canada by train and then cruised to Alaska. They also traveled through almost all fifty states, including Hawaii where they visited Pearl Harbor and placed wreaths at the USS Arizona Memorial. They spent many winters in the Bahamas on Man-O’-War Cay, Abaco, and often visited other places in the eastern and southern Caribbean.

Harold is survived by Shirley,

his wife of 66 years; his two daughters, Tracy Lynne Brabant and her husband James and Tory Leigh Carpenter, all of Clayton; two granddaughters, Elise Hart Flynt and her husband Zachary of Dunlap, Tennessee, and Elaine Hazel Karr and her husband Lucas of Ocala, Florida; three great-grandchildren, Maddox Flynt, Ian Flynt, and Madeline Karr; his sister, Wendy N. Rappold of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; his brother, Cleveland B. Carpenter and his wife Brenda of Gadsden, Alabama; and several cousins, nieces, and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Harold’s name may be made to any of the following: Christ Episcopal Church, 235 John Street Clayton, NY 13624; Indian River Lakes Conservancy, 43982 Stine Road, P.O. Box 27, Redwood, NY 13679; Thousand Islands Snowmobile Club, P.O. Box 361 Clayton, NY 13624.

A funeral service for Harold will be held on Saturday, March 2, at 11 A.M. at Christ Episcopal Church, 235 John Street, Clayton, NY. Arrangements are entrusted to Cummings Funeral Service, Inc., Clayton, and online condolences to his family may be posted at

If you are out of state and unable to attend the in-person service, please contact the Christ Church office at or call (315) 686-3703 for access to livestream.


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Funeral Service
March 2, 2024

11:00 AM
Christ Episcopal Church (NY)


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