In Memory

James R Carpenter

James R Carpenter

November 20, 1895 - January 23, 1989

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03/12/09 04:37 PM #1    

Forrest Allen (1957)

Mr. Carpenter was a hard boiled 'ol boy, but a good man and fair and worked hard to try and pound math into my rock solid head in the early '50's. Some of it stuck.

I'm sure a lot of you reading this didn't know that he was absent from a meeting at the Jr. High in the '40's when a man named Spence went on a shooting rampage; killing 12 or 13 people as they sat at a teachers board meeting.

Purportedly the poor man (Mr. Carpenter) until his death, lived in the paranoia that Spence would get out of prison and come after him. He even visited Spence in the "Pen" from time to time to try and help him resolve the issue. I learned most of this from my sisters who used to walk to school with Spence several times a week as he was a neighbor.

04/07/09 01:42 PM #2    

James Tomlin (1961)

Mr. Carpenter had a quiet dignity and a twinkle in his eye. He taught us about hard work, courage and focus, just the kind of a role model a kid without a father needed. i think he might have been principal once, but I'm glad he came back to teaching.

04/21/09 12:20 PM #3    

Thomas W Madsen (1950)

I believe Mr Carpenter was Vice Principal during the 49 to 50 time period, with a student given nickname of "big Jim".
Tom Madsen (class of 50)

07/05/09 04:37 PM #4    

Kenneth Lyon (1946)

Let's get this correct, The man that committed 5 murders in 1940 was Verlin Spencer. That was in May of 1940 and I was scheduled to enter junior high that fall!! That sort of thing didn't faze us lads.

Ken Lyon 46'

10/29/13 12:01 PM #5    

Sue 'Susie' Creswell (Walling) (1956)

Mr. Carpenter was really somrthing !  Both my parents, ( Pop '30 & Mom "32),  & I, class of '56, had Mr. Carpenter for Math !  He  taught us well  ! Math was not my best subject, but his classes helped me the rest of my life !!



10/30/13 07:43 AM #6    

Wesley Kan (1971)


10/30/13 11:22 AM #7    

Mary Jo McLean (Carmody) (1967)

I honor the memory of Mr. James R. Carpenter. May James, a gem of a teacher @ SPHS, Rest In Eternal Peace <3   :ll

10/30/13 03:43 PM #8    

John T Boyle (1948)



In 1945, I had the pleasure of knowing Jim Carpenter as the Vice Principal of the Junior High School. I thought Mr Carpenter was a fair, honest and and set a good example for our ninth grade class -- a group of awkard teenagers trying to grow up.


One evening, I was the designated driver among my pals, cruising around town.  Unbeknown to me, one of the guys boarded with a pale or large can.  I thought that he might be troubled with car-sickness?


As I was drving down one of the quiet streets in South Pasadena, my friend shouted "stop, stop", which I did.  This guy jumped out of my car with his milk pale and filled it with water at a neghbor's faucet.  He then proceeded to puh the pale under the running board of a parked car, dropped something into the bucket, and quickly jumped back in my car, shouting "go, go!"  This I did, and before I could ask him what was doing, I saw a big flash of light in my rear view mirror!  He had put an explosive (Sulpha) in the water bucket and partly blew up that car!  I learned that car belonged to Jim Carpenter, our vice principal.  Thanks to my friend, we all were in deep trouble!

A couple days later, I was summoned to the Vice Principal's office.  Someone in our tight group had squeeled, indentfying me as causing the damage.  What kind of a friend might that be?  I was some kind of class officer, and I thought I was to be impeached, dishonered and perhaps be-headed!  I never devulged the names of my classmates involved.  I never wanted to know who squeeled accusing me of this deed.  My parents paid for Mr

. Carpenter's bent running board and the paint damaged by the acid.  I diligently completed my Dad's chores in repayment, never complaining that I had been framed.


I always felt badly being a party to blowing up Jim Carpenter's car.  He was too good a man to be an innicent victim of such Tom Foolery.

11/17/13 02:28 PM #9    

William E 'Bill' Meals (1954)

I had quite a few private meetings with "Big Jim" as he was named by almost everybody.. The meetings I had with him were not where I was given any awards for meritorius acts or high levels of achievement.  Quite the opposite.  They were firm disciplinary warnings which I seemed to be good at setting myself up for.  When I went into the Navy my class in officer training was run by a US Marine GYSGT drill instructor.  He would get in peoples faces so bad some times that they would almost break out in tears.  When he would come down on me I'd just think of my times with "Big Jim" and say thanks, I can handle all this with ease.  He was a great guy.

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