NORWALK, Conn. -- James Richard Carpenter, 69, of Norwalk died on Aug. 9, 2016.
Jim Carpenter, as he was always known professionally, was born in Norwalk on Jan. 3, 1947. He was the second son of John Richard Carpenter, a conductor on the railroad, and Helen Budnick Carpenter, a nurse at Norwalk Hospital. As a young boy he was discovered to have a talent for dancing and went on to dance in and eventually choreograph stage musicals.
He graduated from Sacred Heart University in 1969 and began a career as a public school teacher. He taught English, Latin and for almost 30 years was best known as a drama teacher. He took graduate courses in dramatic arts at the University of Connecticut.
A prize-winning teacher, Carp, as he was called by his students, stressed collaboration in the performing arts, and dialogue in the classroom. In retirement Carpenter began a new career as a painter. He had taken courses at the Art League School but it was not until he moved to Gainesville, Florida, in 2003 that he had time to paint. His work was in numerous national and international exhibitions.
In 2010 he married James Hulbert in Washington, D.C. Upon returning to Florida he learned his lung cancer had gone into metastasis and that it was not responding to further treatment.
Carpenter died peacefully in his living room, surrounded by loved ones. He left a message for his friends everywhere: “I love you all. I love life.”
He is survived by James Hulbert; his brother John Joseph Carpenter and sister-in-law Kathy Carpenter (Clearwater, Florida); nephew John Michael Carpenter (Oldsmar, Florida); niece Gina Carpenter Kuchta (Mechanicsville, Virginia); hundreds of other beloved family members; and thousands of students, friends, admirers, followers and collectors.
A celebration of Carpenter’s life will take place Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, from 12 to 3 p.m. at Francesca’s Trattoria in Gainesville. To contribute to the Memorial for Carpenter at the Florida Watercolor Society, visit this link. In addition, Carpenter would have asked that you take a young person to a professional theatre or dance performance, or an art museum.
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