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Friends remember musician as family man, teacher
Carpenter died Thursday at 79
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Dr. Wendell Carpenter, 79, of Gainesville died Thursday morning following an extended illness.

Wendell Carpenter is remembered by his friends as a proud family man, a gifted musician and an incredible teacher.

"Wendell was a friend of 30 years and a wonderfully talented musician, a fiercely doting father and a proud husband," Sammy Smith, longtime friend and Gainesville school board member said.

Wayne Vickery, Gainesville High School athletic director, said he remembers meeting Carpenter when he first moved to Gainesville in the late 1970s.

When Vickery met Carpenter's son Cris, who later became a major league baseball player, he said he was impressed with how supportive a father Carpenter was.

He said Carpenter never missed one of his son's games.

"He was quite a person, you know. I wish everyone had a dad who was as supportive as Dr. Carpenter was," Vickery said.

Carpenter worked as a music teacher at Brenau University and as a choir teacher at Gainesville High School for a number of years. Vickery said he had the pleasure of working with him at the high school until Carpenter retired.

Walt Snelling mirrored Vickery's impression of Carpenter, saying he was very supportive of his children, Cris and Susan.

"He was one of the finest gentlemen I've known in my lifetime and one of the most talented," Snelling said.

Snelling described Carpenter as a perfectionist and one of the greatest musicians he's ever known.

Jo Cosper met Wendell and his wife, Marguerite Carpenter, when they first moved to Gainesville.

They sang in the choir at First Baptist Church together, their sons played ball together and on Monday nights they had dinners together.

"His family and my family have had a longtime friendship," Cosper said.

Cosper remembers singing with Marguerite while Carpenter served as the choir director and the organist at their church.

"He was one of these gifted pianists. He could play without music and a soloist could say I need this in a higher or lower key and he could just do it," Cosper said.

Carpenter's dedication to his family, his students and his community is echoed in the memories of his friends.

"He was a contributor to this community in every phase of his life. I can't say enough good things about him," Snelling said.

Little & Davenport Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Services have not yet been arranged.