Former Farmington educator, mentor and community leader Chuck Carleton died May 7 at the age of 72. His many acts of kindness and genuine concern for others made him one of the most loved and respected people in the region.
After working for 11 years in Memphis, Tennessee, as an art teacher and basketball coach, Carleton relocated to Farmington where he served as assistant principal and principal at Farmington High School, as well as director of transportation and food services for the entire school district.
After retiring from education, he became the assistant CEO at Mineral Area Hospital, after which he took a position with Parkland Health Center in physician recruitment before being named as director of Medical Staff Services. He served on the board at the SEMO Behavioral Health Aquinas Center and was known as an effective public speaker.
A longtime member of the Memorial United Methodist Church of Farmington, Carleton most recently attended the Fredericktown United Methodist Church. He was a man who loved life. He enjoyed cars, boating, trivia, going to the movies, water skiing, drawing and painting.
Remembering his working relationship with Carleton, Charles Rorex said, “Chuck was high school principal when I was superintendent here in the 1980s. He was a good person who never had nothing but great things to say about anyone. He cared about people and I just think he lived a good life. It’s a shame he had to leave (us) at such an early age.”
Farmington Board of Education member Angela Hahn recalled attending school with Carleton years ago.
“What I remember about Chuck was that he was the consummate gentleman,” she said. “I think that anyone who can have that said about them is a very special person. Chuck should have been in my class — he was a year younger and a grade behind me — but he was a hemophiliac and I’m certain that part of his personality was mitigated by dealing with his illness. He understood people and had empathy for them. I think his illness might have been a part of the reason why.”
Janet Douglas has many fond memories of living in the same neighborhood as Carleton during his “growing up” years.
“I had the pleasure of being a neighbor and watching he and his brother, John, grow into manhood,” Douglas said. “He was a tall, lanky kid who always had a smile and a friendly word for everyone. Chuck was a standard member of the no-holds-barred basketball games played in the driveway at the Pete Merseal home. He had a distinctive laugh that was frequently heard along with the ‘oofs’ and ‘groans’ as the game went on.
“He had the same quiet, reliable (personality) and was of high character like his dad, Bud, who was the neighborhood go-to doctor. Chuck was a very likable and good kid who became a fine man. Our neighborhood on Maple/Center Street was a great place for kids to grow up in the 60s and 70s — and the Carleton family was an important part of it … great years.”
Jon Cozean thought the world of Chuck Carleton and didn’t hesitate in saying he believed that Farmington was a better place because of the part he played in the community.
“I think everyone was really surprised and shocked when he died,” Cozean said. “He just seemed to have too much love. He touched a lot of lives — I’ll tell you that. You could tell with the visitation at the funeral home, and particularly for the funeral service. Our chapel was virtually totally full with people who came to pay their respects to him. Just chatting with people, so many of them had some wonderful stories about Chuck. He was just a very, very unique person — one who gave more to the community than he took from the community. He’ll always be remembered for that.”
Carleton is survived by his wife of 49 years, Jane Carleton, of Farmington; his children, Carolyn Carleton of Farmington and Charlie Carleton of Farmington; three grandchildren, Greg Roberts, Grant Roberts, and Hailey Roberts; brother John and wife Pam Carleton of Warsaw; mother-in-law Mary Barron of Fredericktown; sister and brothers-in-law Mike and Cindi Barron, Bob and Frances Barron, Mary and Ronnie Moyers, and Julie and Joe Pritchett; cousins Susan Hall, Phyllis Rich, Vicky Moses and Becky Gammon; as well as nieces, nephews and friends.
Kevin R. Jenkins is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-756-8927 or firstname.lastname@example.org