“He’s dancing with the angels now…and, wow, can he dance!”
Scott Carpenter, beloved husband and father, passed away peacefully in his home, in his wife’s arms, on October 1, 2021, where he was receiving hospice care. A resident of Vashon Island for 15 years, Scott and his family previously lived in Bellevue, Washington.
No one who knew Scott was surprised by his keen, lifelong interest in politics and journalism. After all, they were embedded in his genes. Born September 9, 1946, in Washington, DC, to two journalists and FDR democrats—Liz and Les Carpenter— Scott grew up in a household consumed by national news and the people making it. Political figures and nationally known journalists were regulars at the Carpenter household. In early childhood, Scott met leading political figures such as House Speaker Sam Rayburn and then Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson. Scott’s photo with President Eisenhower ran in several newspapers around the nation in 1955. Scott also served as a page on the floor of the United States Senate while in high school.
Scott pursued a degree in journalism at the University of Texas, at Austin, while covering the Texas State Legislature for the Long News Bureau. Later, he became bureau chief of Harte Hanks Austin bureau, leading political reporting and investigative journalism for several Texas newspapers. During this time, he met and married Jean Brown Carpenter, who would become his wife of 43 years.
Following his career in journalism, Scott was named Vice President of the Insurance Information Institute, serving in Chicago and then in Seattle, where the family made their home, in Bellevue. It was in Bellevue, at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, that Scott led the folk music group Sojourners and participated in Cursillo and Kairos ministries. He loved singing with his guitar, whether at home, in church, or for prison inmates.
Later, Scott’s interests turned to non-profit work. He served as Executive Director of Peace Action, working against the proliferation of nuclear weapons. In addition, he worked at Friends of Youth, an organization serving youth in troubled situations.
Of all his accomplishments, Scott’s primary legacy is the unconditional love he constantly gave his family. His daughter, Bonnie Bizzell, writes, “When he married my mom in ’78, he happily took on the role of parent; he gave me so much of the world without hesitation.” From his son, the Rev. Les Carpenter, “He was the best dad. He taught me so much about love, caring, and patience… thank you for showing me sweetness from the very beginning.” Wife Jean adds, “He will always be the love of my life, the person who taught me what unconditional love looks like, feels like, and can be.”
Scott is survived by his wife Jean of Vashon, Washington; daughter Bonnie Bizzell and husband Jim Sibley; son the Rev. Les Carpenter and wife Kristin; sister Christy Carpenter and husband Robert Walden; grandchildren James and Sam Carpenter; beagle Tigger; and many Texas cousins. Services will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please tell someone you love them.
God be with you ‘til we meet again.