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August 22, 1940 – April 5, 2016



David Burton Carpenter of Missouri City, a chemical engineer and educator who held three patents, died April 5 from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He was 75.

Carpenter earned both bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees during his five years at Rice University and a master’s of business administration from Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va.

A native of Shawnee, Okla., Carpenter was his high school salutatorian at John Marshall High School in Oklahoma City and won the Gaylord scholarship in chemistry and math.

Carpenter was awarded three patents while working in research and development for Ashland Oil Co. in Kentucky – two for making naphthalene from diesel fuel, and one for making activated carbon from two refinery waste products.

He later worked as assistant manager for Ashland’s plant in Great Meadows, NJ, and as operations manager for Calgon Corp. in Ashland, Ky.

Wanting to return to Texas, Carpenter accepted a position in commercial development for Merichem Co. in Missouri City. He later started a custom manufacturing pilot plant for the scale-up and commercialization of products and processes. He called it Sheith, a combination of his children’s names. The startup was caught by the oil collapse of the early 1980s, and it shut down in 1985.

Carpenter then was hired as operations manager by South Hampton Refining, where he oversaw several capital expansion projects before going to work for Pennzoil as a research and development engineer. He later worked for Texmark Chemical as plant manager and R&D manager.

After retirement, Carpenter worked as an engineering consultant and taught process engineering as an adjunct professor at Alvin Community College. He tutored students in physical science and mathematics.

He was active in the Episcopal Church, serving on the vestries of three churches, including positions as senior warden and junior warden. He chaired finance committees and served as project manager for building projects at various churches.

Carpenter served as elections clerk and election judge for several local and national elections, and worked for H&R Block, helping citizens file their taxes. He was an avid genealogist.

He is survived by his wife, Virginia Howell Carpenter; two children, Sherry Schreck of Missouri City and Keith Carpenter of Milwaukee, Wis.; and three grandchildren, Charlie Schreck of Oklahoma City, Laura Schreck of Houston and Allie Carpenter of Milwaukee, Wis. His sister, Sally Carpenter Hale, lives in Doylestown, Pa.

The family asks that donations be made to the ALS Association or the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany Book of Remembrance.

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