Select Page
Home » Campus News Latest » Obituaries » Karl “Joe” Carr ’87

Karl “Joe” Carr passed away peacefully on Saturday May 23rd, 2020 at Sparrow Hospice in Michigan. Joe was a gentle man with a big heart who was loved by many and is already deeply missed.

Joe was born in Lafferty, Ohio on April 1, 1929, the son of Mary and Eugene Carr. He spent his younger years in Lafferty, where he caddied at the local country club with his best friend and cousin “Tete” and developed his lifelong passion for the game of golf. At age 17, Joe proudly enlisted in the Army Air Corps. and spent the next three years serving in the Dakotas and Alaska, developing a love for aviation and a dislike of cold weather.

After discharge, he enrolled at Tri-State University of Angola, Indiana on the G.I. Bill and later earned his degree from Antioch College of Ohio in 1987. Joe then met the love of his life, Marilyn Robinson, through a mutual friend, and they were married on January 8, 1955 in Napoleon, Michigan.

Joe was a wonderful man, of Italian and Irish heritage, deeply committed to his family, kind-hearted, generous and a friend to all. He lived life to the fullest, always on the go. Joe pursued his love of aviation by earning his pilot’s license. He loved all things related to airplanes, whether it be taking his family to fly-ins or simply watching from the fence. Music was also always important to Joe, with his taste ranging from smooth jazz to ’40s swing bands. He took his wife dancing whenever he could during their younger years. Later, he learned to play both the trombone and the saxophone, even joining a band where he entertained others. Joe loved to cook as well, sipping a Rolling Rock while he made his famous jambalaya.

To his family, Joe and the game of golf were synonymous. Family outings became golf outings, making sure every family member knew the precise rules of the game and how to swing easy. He had three holes-in-one, and he spent hours watching his favorite pros either in-person or on television. Golf was Joe’s second love.

His first love, however, was his beautiful wife Marilyn and the family they created. Throughout their 65 years together, he spent every day loving her and making it a point to let everyone know how much she was adored. Joe and Marilyn had great adventures together, moving cross-county for his job, playing lots of golf, and enjoying casino runs. After their cross-country travels, they lived in their beloved home for 55 years in Williamston, Michigan. Family outings were always a special time for Joe, and he never missed one. He took great pride in watching his children raise their families.

Education was paramount to him, and he emphasized the importance of that to his children and grandchildren, sharing in their accomplishments and beaming at each graduation ceremony.

Joe took pride in his work as an accomplished technical writer, working in the aerospace industry from 1950 to 1970. His job created many adventures for the family, taking them to California twice, New York, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota and finally back home to Michigan. He helped write and edit the manuals for the ballistic missiles and spaceflight programs, such as the Gemini, Jupiter, and Apollo missions. Later, he founded his own publications company, Technical Communicators Inc., which he owned and operated for many years out of Howell, Michigan.

Joe was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers, Robert, Willard, and John, and his sisters Eileen and Lennie.

He is survived by his wife Marilyn and his three children: Vicki (Terry) Kildea of East Lansing, Michigan, Joseph Carr (Kim Doucher) of Westerville, Ohio, and Julie (Shawn) O’Brien of East Lansing, Michigan. Six grandchildren will miss him dearly: Jennifer (John) Dewane, Jason (Kristin) Kildea, Dr. Kelly Carr (Dr. Justin Dugas), Kaleigh O’Brien, Kenzie O’Brien, and Chloe O’Brien. His six great-great grandchildren adored him as well: Connor and Colin Dewane, Carter and Brennan Kildea, and Gemma and Everett Dugas. He also leaves behind Connie Malik, and her daughter, Hannah, who were like family to him as well as his brother Harry, his sisters Marie and Florene, and many nieces, nephews, and special friends.

We will celebrate the legacy of Joe in the future when we can be together. Until then, raise a toast to him and celebrate a memory. Online condolences can be made at: family would like to express their sincere gratitude to the loving caregivers at Sparrow Hospice. Memorial contributions can be made in his name to Sparrow Hospice House of Mid-Michigan at 1210 West Saginaw, Lansing, MI 48915.