Obituaries » Donald Kenneth Carl

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Donald Kenneth Carl

March 27, 1925 - December 1, 2020

U.S. Veteran

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Donald Kenneth Carl, age 95, of Bedford, went to be with our Heavenly Father on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 following a brief illness.  He was born on March 27, 1925 in Washington D.C., a son of the late Frederick Lebrecht Carl, Jr. and Julia Anna Marie Kattelmann Carl, “Marie.”  Don was the loving husband for 72 years of Jean Crane Carl who he sadly lost in April of this year.

He is survived by his children, Donna C. Henderson (David), Kenneth W. Carl (Delores), Marie C. Lilly (Ben) ; five grandchildren, William Carl, Kelly Dye, Zebulon Lilly, Whitney King (Keith), and William Lilly (Whitney); six great-grandchildren, Colin King, Lauren King, Brody King, Justin Dye, Finnegan Lilly, and Maxton Lilly;  as well as many devoted nieces and nephews.   In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his brothers, Fred D. Carl and Henry J. Carl.  He is also survived by a special friend of Don, Jean and family – Fern Kauffman.

Don grew up in Washington, D.C.   He and Jean moved to the Washington suburbs and lived in Kensington, Maryland for 67 years where they raised their family.

Don was a WWII Navy Veteran.  He served in the Philippines as an electrician on board LSM 135.  His ship was hit and destroyed by a kamikaze attack on 25 May 1945 halfway between Ie Shima and Okinawa.   He was one of the few fortunate survivors, and he earned the Bronze Star for bravery.  He was graciously invited to participate in several family education programs at the National D’Day Memorial. He felt privileged and humbled to be a part of the 75th Anniversary of D’Day at the Memorial, and a part of HONOR FLIGHT of Central and South West Virginia to Washington, D.C. in October, 2019.

Don worked for the Federal Government most of his career:  The Navy Department, Goddard Space Flight Center and the U.S. Postal Service Headquarters.  In addition, he spent a few years with private companies:  Westinghouse, Rixon Electronics and NEMS-Clarke Company.

Don’s hobbies were water sports, boating and camping.  He created his own “pop up” tent camper.  The family enjoyed years of water skiing at their lake cottage at Blue Ridge Shores.  After several boats, he and Jean graduated to a Grand Banks Trawler, DONJE.  She was their pride and joy providing 32 years of safe cruising on the Chesapeake Bay.   Donje even ventured on 2 separate (year long) adventures of what is called “The Great Loop.”

Don and his wife were members of the United States Power Squadron (America’s Boating Clubs.)  He began in the Potomac River Squadron and then he was a charter member of the Rockville, Md. Squadron.  He served in several capacities: secretary, the exec officer fall of ‘85, commander (spring of ’86-’87)   Don taught many of their educational courses and worked with NOAA on cooperative charting.  He was also involved in many activities with the Annapolis, Md. Squadron.  They participated with the Smith Mountain Lake Sail and Power Squadron when they moved to Bedford, Va. in 2014.  And, they were former members of The Chesapeake Bay Grand Banks Owners Association and The Chesapeake Bay Cruisers Association.

Don grew up in the Cleveland Park Congregational Church in Washington, D.C.  He attended Calvary Baptist Church, Washington, D.C., Bethesda First Baptist Church, Bethesda, Maryland and Bedford Baptist Church, Bedford, Virginia.

Don’s family would like to thank the staff at Oakwood Health and Rehab, Oakwood Manor Nursing Home and Centra Hospice for their loving care during these final days when Don had limited contact with family because of this very sad world-wide pandemic crisis.  We also appreciate the care and expertise of Dr. Brian Buchanan.

Please consider a memorial gift to The National D’Day Memorial (3 Overlord Circle, Bedford, VA  24523 or d’,) to Central and Southwest Virginia HONOR FLIGHT (,) to the Rockville Sail and Power Squadron (15718 Ancient Oak Dr., Gaithersburg, Md. 20878) or to a charity of your choice.

A memorial service and interment will take place at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery.Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Bedford, is assisting the family. To send condolences online, please visit

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