Shirley Holden Carpenter, 83, of Palmetto, Ga., died Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015.
A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. at Bethel United Methodist Church, 245 Fairview Rd, Stockbridge, Ga. 30281. Memorials may be made to her favorite charity, Boys Town (http://www.boystown.org).
Shirley Holden Carpenter was born in Rochester, N.Y. to the late Henry and Elsie Holden, the youngest of six children. She began a life of service at an early age. With five brothers all serving during WWII, 11-year-old Shirley hitched up her pony to a wagon and went through the neighborhood collecting games and sports equipment to send to the servicemen. While in college, she met Clyde A. Carpenter and they were married July 4, 1952, and moved to Gowanda, NY. Along with raising six children, she worked as a school teacher and for a while for a music publishing company, before following her husband into service as a United Methodist pastor, completing her course of study from Saint Paul School of Theology in 1985. She served several churches in Nebraska over the next 20+ years, along with being very involved in the lives of her family, officiating or participating in numerous family weddings, christenings, and baptisms.
She retired as an active pastor in 2002 and moved to Georgia where she continued to serve several different churches in the Henry County area as pastor or music minister, as well as teaching several private piano students. In 2015, she moved to the Baptist Manor in Palmetto, where she continued to serve, singing, playing the piano and preaching whenever called upon. Rev. Carpenter was a skilled pianist, vocalist and songwriter. She spent several years traveling as a music evangelist and recorded two CDs, as well as publishing a children’s book. In 1973 she and her husband created a music publishing company, J. C. Fish, to promote several of her songs as well as cantatas that they had written. In the early seventies, her song “In New York State” was given consideration for the N.Y. state song. In all that she did, Shirley strove to glorify Jesus and serve Him. We will always remember her license plate, “JCSRVNT”.
She is survived by her step-sister Patricia Holden, and six children, sons Carl (Kathy), Scott (Sandy) and Eric (Donna Flanders) Carpenter and daughters Michele (Dennis) Spaulding, Janice (David) Carpenter Weidner, and Christy (Jason) Nickels, as well as a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild that she happily claimed, whether related by blood or by love.
She was preceded in death by her father, mother, and step-mother Florence, and brothers Don, Jack, Bruce, Nelson, and Richard.