Cover photo for Donald Dean Carpenter's Obituary
Donald Dean Carpenter Profile Photo

Donald Dean Carpenter

September 19, 1929 — August 28, 2022


ELKHART - Rev. Donald D. Carpenter, 92, of Elkhart, died on August 28, 2022 at Elkhart General Hospital in Elkhart, IN.  He was born September 19, 1929 in South Bend, IN to Ivan Carpenter and Imogene Johnson.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Jane McLaughlin Carpenter; 2 daughters, Karen Harrison of Indianapolis and Kimm (Daniel) Porter-O’Shea of Muncie, 1 great granddaughter, Irie O’Shea, his parents, 2 brothers (Darryl, Claude Elden) and 2 sisters (Eileen, Bobbi).

Don Carpenter is survived by 2 sons, Kristin B. (Mary) Carpenter of Elkhart and the Rev. Kelly P. (Lyn) Carpenter of Winston-Salem, NC; 11 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren, 1 great-great-grandchild, and his 3 sisters, Jan Garber, Marceline Forest, and Sharon Snowden.

Don graduated from South Bend Riley High School, served two years in the U.S. Marine Corp.  He earned his B.A in Religion from Olivet Nazarene College, a Master’s degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate of Ministry with the Graduate Theological Foundation of Ancilla College.

Don married Mary Jane McLaughlin in 1953 after meeting at Olivet.  They were married for 61 years until her death in 2015.  Don and Mary Jane were partners in ministry with his preaching and her singing/teaching.  Together they raised 4 children in 7 parsonages.

Pastor Don, as he was known throughout his ministry, was an ordained minister serving numerous United Methodist congregations:  Maquon (Maquon, IL, 1959-63) ,  Montmorenci/Mt. Zion (Lafayette, 1963-67), Trinity (Frankfort, IN 1967-70), First UMC (Warsaw, 1970-73), Forest Park (Fort Wayne, 1973-75), Madison St. (Muncie, 1975-80), and finally 15 years at Hillcrest in Elkhart (1980-95).  During his retirement, he served another 10 years as part time pastor of Southlawn UMC (South Bend, 1998-2008).

Don Carpenter never knew a stranger, and he was deeply devoted to the ministry of the local church.  As a lifelong student of faith, he participated in ecumenical, interfaith and cross-racial dialogues.  He embraced the opportunity to travel, making trips to Europe and Israel.  He was a proud, progressive evangelical continuing to share his faith through presentations with his collection of crosses.  He loved golf, frisbee, croquet, euchre/hearts, and popcorn.  In these last 6 years, Don lived with abundant gratitude, enjoying his time at the Hubbard Hill Retirement Community, just a short distance away from his three loving sisters.

Visitation will be from 5-7 pm on Friday, September 2nd at the Stemm-Lawson-Peterson Funeral Home, 1531 Cobblestone Blvd, Elkhart, IN 46514.  A Celebration of Life Service will be held Saturday, September 3 at 1:00 pm at Trinity UMC in Elkhart.  The family will have an hour of visitation before the service.  The Rev. Kelly P. Carpenter and the Rev. Steve Burris will be officiating.

Memorials may be given to Church Community Services of Elkhart https:// . Online condolences may be sent to


Church Community Services
907 Oakland Avenue, Elkhart IN 46516
Tel: 1-574-295-3673

To send flowers to the family in memory of Donald Dean Carpenter, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, September 2, 2022

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Stemm-Lawson-Peterson Funeral Home

1531 Cobblestone Boulevard
Elkhart, IN 46514

*Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Add to Calendar

*Standard text messaging rates apply.


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