Benjamin Eugene Carpenter, AECS Retired, age 91 passed away Friday, September 29, 2023. Benjamin was born on September 25, 1932 in Canandaigua, New York to the parents of Albert and Leah Carpenter.
Benjamin was a member of Westside Baptist Church, where he served as a Deacon. He was also a retired Aviation Electronics Senior Chief with the US Navy, having served in the Vietnam War. After retiring from the Navy he worked as a Corporate and Commercial Pilot.
Benjamin was preceded in death by his parents, Albert and Leah Carpenter, step-father, Donald Searle, a son Benjamin Edward Carpenter, Sr., a sister, Sandra Gills, a brother-in-law, Robert Walker and a sister-in-law, Frances Helsing King.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Jane Carpenter, a daughter, Denise Carpenter Thomas, a daughter-in-law, Laura Carpenter, a brother-in-law, Herbert Walker, his four grandsons, Benjamin Edward Carpenter, Jr., Christopher Carpenter, Walker Thomas and Gabriel “Gabe” Thomas, a great grandson, Benjamin Edward Carpenter, III, his nephew, Greg Helsing, whom he called his son as well as many nieces and nephews.
Ben was blessed to serve his Lord and Personal Savior, Jesus Christ, in many ways throughout his life. Ben often said, “God’s Miracles in our lives continue. All He asks is to be One of His and be Willing to Serve.”
In addition to serving his Country, Ben was a family man who was always finding ways to make life easier for those he loved. He thrived on building things and designing plans to build. He was an avid gardener all of his life, putting in a spring and fall garden every year that he was not living on an aircraft carrier halfway across the world. He loved teaching, leading, and rarely idle, he just loved taking action to beautify and improve the world around him. He loved nature from his farm-boy beginnings, to his backyard hawk, Henry, to the beautiful sunsets he shared from his front porch. Ben was constantly seeking the Face of God in nature.
He served as “Farmer Ben” with his friend Wally Schram to teach daycare aged children about growing flowers and vegetables, including preparing the soil, planting the seeds, watering, and harvesting so the children would have an appreciation for how we can actually see Jesus working in our lives every day through the growth of His plants.
Ben and Jane loved serving at Westside Baptist Church where he was a Deacon and loved being able to lead people to Jesus. He would hold out an ink pen in an open hand to people contemplating salvation after he led them through Romans 3:21-26 and tell them if they wanted his pen, all they had to do was “reach out and take it”. It was his way of showing Salvation is Free based upon what Jesus did on the Cross.
He worked with other Christian Veterans to begin Mission Harvest and Christian Veterans Association for many years beginning with one banana box of donated food. God blessed his efforts and it grew to trucks and warehouses full of free food, furniture and other necessities for the poor and needy in Jacksonville.
One of his favorite ways to serve was through distributing Gideon New Testament Bibles to Navy Enlisted Men. Every month, he and Jane would drive across town with his hand truck and pick up boxes and boxes and deliver them to Naval Air Station Jacksonville so that each Naval Serviceperson received a fresh pocket-sized New Testament with the Psalms and Proverbs. After each monthly outing, they would always go on a breakfast date together.
Ben and Jane loved hosting missionaries in their home over many decades. Ben was frequently known to give away one of his favorite “God is in control” baseball hats to whomever God led and wore his proudly. He loved wearing the color purple would explain why; boasting on his Lord, that because he was a Beloved Child of the King, that made him Royalty.
Graveside services will be held, Friday, October 6, 2023, at 9:30AM in Jacksonville National Cemetery, 4083 Lannie Road, Jacksonville, FL 32218 (Lane 2) with Rev. Ray Mayfield officiating followed by US Navy Honors. Following the service, the family will be gathering at 11:30AM at Westside Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, 7775 Herlong Road, Jacksonville, FL 32210 for a reception. Please sign our online guest register at fraserfuneralhome.com
Jacksonville National Cemetery