Reser Funeral Home
David R. Carpenter, age 55, passed away Sunday morning, February 3, 2013, at his step-sons’ home in Overland Park, Kansas, after an extended battle with esophageal cancer. He had undergone an esophagectomy at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, on March 8, 2011. When the cancer once again reared its ugly head, David returned to Honolulu for a period of six weeks, hoping to be helped once again, but when he was unsuccessful in his efforts, he returned home on October 13, 2013, still determined to do battle with the cancer.
David was born in San Diego, California, on January 9, 1958, the son of Dr. Arden R. (“Doc”) and Hazel Louise Parker Carpenter.
He grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, where he attended Enchanted Lakes Elementary as a little “keiki,” then moving to Memphis, Tennessee, living in various military installations during his dad's military career. Following “Doc” Carpenter’s retirement, the family moved to their home in Warsaw, Missouri where David attended Warsaw High until he decided he wanted to serve his country.
During the Vietnam War, at the age of seventeen, on January 22, 1975, David enlisted in the United States Navy. He was a "plank owner" on the USS Paul F. Foster and also served aboard the USS Charles F. Adams - DDG-2. He was discharged on April 15, 1977. David was proud of his duty with the U. S. Navy and was considered as an "Old Salt" to his comrades, family and friends.
On June 30, 2005, he was united in marriage to Phyllis Marie Glano Vanags in Sedalia, Missouri. Following their marriage, they made their home in Warsaw, Missouri, until moving to Leawood, Kansas, in 2006.
After completing his military duty and some college under the GI Bill, David began working as a civilian police officer at Barber’s Point Naval Air Station on the island of Oahu. During this time he was a plain clothes investigator and also acted as watch commander. While working as a police officer in California, David received newspaper notoriety and a "letter of outstanding performance" for single-handedly disrupting a bank robbery, pursuing the culprits and arresting the perpetrators.
At that time, David held several gun licenses and was considered an “expert” shot. David also worked as head of security for Vacation Inns in California and as a security guard for Bank of America in Oakland, California. Additionally, he worked for many years as a truck driver, winning Second Place in a Truckers Competition while driving for Hawaii Transfer in Honolulu, Hawaii.
David drove over a million miles during his 10-year career with J. B. Hunt and Crete Truck lines. He also worked as a waiter at the "Five Star" rated Jasper’s Restaurant, in Kansas City, and the IHOP in Overland Park, Kansas, where he met his soul mate and love of his life, Phyllis. He also worked with his father as a locksmith and as a bail bondsman for Aker Bonding in Warsaw, Missouri.
He was a dedicated father and family man and had become a "guardian angel" to his wife throughout their marriage and especially during his final bout with cancer.
David was a lifetime member of Warsaw American Legion Post #217 and was also a member of the Benton County Elks Lodge #2783 in Warsaw.
He was an avid pool player, competing in many local and regional tournaments, and performed exhibition trick-shots, for fraternal groups, family and friends. David’s philosophy in pool was “Never say die,” which he valiantly carried into the war he waged with cancer. David “fought the good fight” until the end.
David was also an avid boater, where you could often see him on the lake in the couple’s pontoon boat. David taught his wife, Phyllis, boating and referred to her as his “first mate.”
David also was a HOG member and was very proud of the couple’s 2005 Glacier Pearl White Harley Road King. He proudly taught three of his stepsons to ride motorcycles and in healthier times could often be seen riding on his Harley with his wife, Phyllis, behind.
David is survived by his wife, Phyllis, of the home; his six step-children, including Phillip Vanags, Johnathon Vanags, and Daniel Vanags, and Daniel’s fiancé, London Edwards, all of Overland Park, Kansas, Jennifer Northam and her husband Paul of Kenosha, Wisconsin, Janice Georgakopoulos and her husband, Stan, of Plainfield, Illinois, and George Vanags, also of Kenosha. He is survived by grandchildren, Sarah, Hannah, Abby, Zoe, Zachary, and Noah Northam and Zoe and Tegan Georgakopoulos.
He also leaves one son, Bryan Carpenter, of Springfield, Missouri, and one daughter, Rebecca Carpenter, of San Antonio, Texas; his mother, Hazel Carpenter, of Sedalia, Missouri, two sisters, Sherry Allain, of Florence, Missouri, Trudy Phillips of Kansas City, Missouri, and brother, Daniel Carpenter, of Warsaw, other relatives and friends.
Graveside Funeral Services and Military Honors will be at 10:30 A.M. Thursday, February 7, 2013, at the Riverside Cemetery in Warsaw.