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Charles A. Carpenter

Charles Albert Carpenter, Al, of Vestal, NY, passed away on July 30, 2018, in Cohoes, NY. Al was born in Hazleton, PA, to Charles Albert Carpenter and Frances Mary Kenyon on June 8, 1929. He had four girls with his wife, Rosanne Rothrock. He married his second wife Martha Casella in 1992. Al was preceded in death by his beloved wife Martha and his parents and only sibling, Francy Roberts. Al was a man of many great passions, especially for his four girls and their kids, his two wives in their time, his dogs, his academic work, Binghamton University, his family camp in the Adirondacks, the Shaw Festival, England's literary theater, senior softball, bridge, Hearts, mowing his lawn and shoveling his driveway. You could often find Al taking a break from his studies to walk his dog in Binghamton University's nature preserve. He was an absolute ham and loved to make everyone laugh. His family and colleagues loved and admired him and will miss him very much. After a decade as a college librarian, Al received a Ph.D. in English at Cornell University in 1963. He taught at the University of Delaware before moving to Binghamton University (BU) in 1967. After 28 years of teaching, he retired from BU in 1999 and became Professor Emeritus of English at Binghamton University. Al was a prolific author throughout his career, publishing both literary works of modern drama and reference books. Starting in 1969 with his first book, Bernard Shaw and the Art of Destroying Ideals: The Early Plays, his literary pursuits included Dramatists and the Bomb: American and British Playwrights Confront the Nuclear Age, 1945-1964 (1999) and Dramas of the Nuclear Age - A Descriptive List of English-Language Plays (2000). A second book on Shaw, Bernard Shaw as Artist-Fabian (2009), was followed in 2014 by a volume on Shaw and Gilbert Murray in the series Selected Correspondence of Bernard Shaw. He also compiled an annual bibliography of modern drama studies for the journal Modern Drama from 1972 to 1990. He published a two-volume set, Modern Drama Scholarship and Criticism 1966-1980: An International Bibliography (1986) and Modern Drama Scholarship and Criticism 1981-1990: An International Bibliography (1997). In his 80s, Al published online bibliographies of Shaw (A Chronology of Works By and About Bernard Shaw) and O'Neill (Eugene O'Neill, 1888-1953: A Descriptive Chronology of His Plays, Theatrical Career, and Dramatic Theories). In 2011, Samuel Beckett The Dramatic Works of Samuel Beckett: A Selective Bibliography of Publications About his Plays and their Conceptual Foundations was printed. Al authored over 100 essays in journals and books. Al made a 600-page Bernard Shaw's Letters to Individuals available in a Word document for a small fee. His last work Shaw's Drama Through the Years as Perceived by North American Playwrights, Drama Critics and Play Reviewers was completed in December 2015. You can learn more about his years in retirement in his own words here. Outside of academia Al also mediated for Broome County, schlepped books all over Binghamton, NY, for Good Reads. He became a Life Master, and taught classes at the Binghamton Lyceum. Al is survived by his four daughters, Carol Carpenter, Linda Maynard, Janet Sotola, Diane Carpenter, his 10 grandchildren, and dog Rascal. Carol is a Senior Lecturer in Anthropology and like her father earned her Ph.D. from Cornell University. She lives in Killingworth, Connecticut, with her daughter Margaret and Al's dog Rascal. Linda is a Bookkeeper and lives in Cedar Park, Texas, with her husband Arthur Maynard and children, Andy, Trey, Dakota and Georgia. Linda also has an adult son, Tony Northrup. Janet is a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner who lives in Altamont, New York, with her husband, Vaclav Sotola. They have two children, Alex who lives in Texas, and Lukas who lives in Iowa. Diane, a Grant Manager, lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her younger child, Kathryn. Her son, Nick and his wife Janeen, live close by in Richmond. Al's family will celebrate his life privately at their family camp in the Adirondack Mountains. In lieu of flowers, Al would love donations in his name be sent to the Alzheimer's Association for research into the disease that plagued his last few years.


My sympathies to Al's family. Al was a wealth of knowledge on Shaw and always willing to help dig out the juicy, elusive tidbit. Even more, he was a simply delightful, kind and gentle man, a loss to our world.

MaryAnn Crawford Aug 15 2018 12:00 AM

Al was one of the first Shaw scholars I met in 1992, and between him and Fred Crawford I never laughed so hard. I will miss his encyclopedic knowledge, his good humor, and his zest for life. While I was in grad school, one of my colleagues was a former student of Al's, and after she shared several of her stories, I wished I had been a former student of Al's too.

Michael O'Hara Aug 14 2018 12:00 AM

My sincere sy mpathy to Al's family, his many friends and colleagues. Our friendship dates back to the early 70s and it has always been a joy to be in touch. I admire him immensely and honour his memory.

Annn saddlemyer Aug 13 2018 12:00 AM

What a beautiful tribute that you wrote about your father. The photo in the Binghamton Press is perfect. I met Al in University Singles in the late 80's. He was always a delight to encounter. He initiated a casual bridge group within our club and we enjoyed many good times at the tables. After he married Martha, I remet him at the Bridge Studio and he was anxious to share his happiness at finding Martha. I am very sorry for your loss.

Maureen Boyd Miner Aug 4 2018 12:00 AM

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Friends and Family Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM