Lewis Glen Carpenter was born in Hayti, Mo. on Jan. 12, 1932 to Verba Glen Carpenter and Edna Earl Pullam.
He resided in New Braunfels, where he was close to his family, for his last 16 years until he left us peacefully and early on football Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010.
Born into poverty during the Great Depression, he overcame extraordinary early adversity to make an imprint in the National Football League, where he was graced with a 40 year career as player and coach. After playing six man football in high school, he attended the University of Arkansas on a football scholarship where he was a standout halfback for the Razorbacks. While in college, he also played semi-pro baseball. His senior year of college he was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the National Football League and was also offered a contract in major league baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Lew spent his first three seasons in the National Football League as a running back for the Detroit Lions, where he was their leading rusher and won his first world championship. His pro football career was cut short when he was drafted into the peacetime army and spent 18 months stationed in Germany. Upon his discharge from the service, he was traded to the Cleveland Browns, where he had two more winning seasons playing alongside his brother, Preston Carpenter.
His playing career took a legendary turn when Vince Lombardi brought him to Green Bay in his first trade as the Packers new head coach. He played for Lombardi for five seasons and two more world championships and retired as a player after the 1963 season.
His coaching career began in 1964 with the Minnesota Vikings, and subsequently he held various positions as receivers coach, passing game coach, and offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, the Washington Redskins coaching alongside Vince Lombardi, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Houston Oilers, the Green Bay Packers, the Detroit Lions and the Philadelphia Eagles. He mentored numerous pro bowl players.
James Lofton had this to say about Lew: “Lew Carpenter was a father figure, friend and a mentor. He was the first person I met with the Packers when he came to work me out at Stanford my senior year. We developed a special bond and he was a driving force for excellence behind all the players he coached. His favorite phrase on the practice field was “you got to love.” There is no mistake Lew Carpenter loved the game and more so the men who played for him. I was honored to have played for Lew. I will miss but never forget his spirit.”
He is survived by his wife and soul mate of 62 years Beverly Ann Holt Carpenter, and his four daughters, Cheryl Carpenter Doane of San Marcos, Cathy Carpenter of New Braunfels, Lisa Carpenter Prewitt of San Marcos and Rebecca Carpenter of Los Angeles, Calif.; and nine grandchildren, Jennifer Doane, Chad Doane, Ketzal Carpenter, Rivelino Carpenter, Alisha Carpenter, Natalie Prewitt, Annika Blomquist, Tyler Wendland and Parker Carpenter; his brother Preston Carpenter of Broken Arrow, Okla; his sons-in-law Alan Doane and Ron Prewitt; his nephews Scott, Bruce and Lewis Todd Carpenter; former son-in-law Alan Blomquist and two step-grandchildren Sam and Will Blomquist. He was preceded in death by his parents and his grandson Travis Cory Doane.
His family aspires to embody the values that most defined him: A tremendous work ethic, a deeply gentle and private disposition, a passion for play and a ferocity that made it impossible for him to quit. He was lovingly surrounded by family at his death.
The family requests that donations be made to the Lewis Carpenter University of Arkansas Scholarship, through Chase Bank 111 West San Antonio Street, New Braunfels, TX 78130.
The family will receive friends on Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. followed by a celebration of Lew's life at Pennington Funeral Home in San Marcos at 7 p.m.
Arrangements under the care and guidance of Pennington Funeral Home, San Marcos, 353-4311. Obituary, directions due to construction, and guest book online at www.penningtonfuneralhome.com.