PARK HILLS — An alumnus from Flat River Junior College Class of ’43 will be honored during Mineral Area College commencement exercises at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the Robert E. Sechrest Field House.
Dr. Charles Carleton, longtime civic leader of the Farmington community, will be recognized as the community college’s 2009 Distinguished Alumnus.
“Those who know Dr. Carleton have come to admire his quiet wisdom, unwavering integrity and strength as a leader,” said Peggy Ropelle, in charge of the community college’s alumni organization. “Dr. Carleton epitomizes a life-time philosophy that can best be summarized by saying that rather than observing life and imagining what might be, one should participate fully no matter the challenge. In this fashion, a single life can contribute to the betterment of us all.”
Carleton was born in Farmington on March 11, 1924, to Earl and Wilma Carleton, the second of two children, the first being a sister, Winifred.
He attended the Farmington Public Schools and graduated from Farmington High School in 1941 just two months past his 17th birthday. Carleton enrolled as a freshman at Flat River Junior College, MAC’s predecessor, attending the college from 1941 to 1943. During his sophomore year, he was elected president of both the sophomore class and the student council. During his sophomore year, he applied for and became one of only two students to receive a Navy V-12 scholarship to attend medical school.
Carleton spent his first year of medical study at Westminster College in Fulton, transferring to University of Missouri-Columbia where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1947. His medical studies had been interrupted when the Navy required Carleton to report to the Great Lakes Naval Station in Chicago, Ill., for a year of military training.
He was accepted to attend the Washington University School of Medicine in 1947. His medical schooling was rigorous, requiring that he attend year-round, sometimes carrying 24 hours in a single semester. Carleton graduated in the top 10 of the class of 1949, earning his doctorate in medicine. After completing his internship, residency and active duty as a lieutenant in the Navy, Dr. Carleton joined the partners of the Farmington Medical Arts Clinic in 1953, becoming one of the clinic’s founding members. He remained a partner until his retirement 43 years later.
While practicing medicine in Farmington, Carleton served as president of the Farmington Chamber of Commerce in 1965, joined the board of directors of Ozark Savings and Loan in 1974 (a position he retains to this day), and served as the first chief of staff of Farmington Community Hospital, later to become Parkland Health Center.
Upon retiring from active practice, Carleton continued to care for the citizens of St. Francois and the surrounding counties by serving for nearly a decade as the medical director for HospiceCare, located on the Mineral Area College campus. Carleton has two sons: Charles Edward Carleton, who attended Mineral Area College in 1966-1967; and John Richard Carleton. Carleton and his wife Betty live in Farmington.