Don Charles Carpenter

July 30, 1935 - January 27, 2019

Don Charles Carpenter, 83, of Batavia, Il., passed away on Sunday, January 27, 2019 surrounded by his family at Bright Oaks of Aurora.  Don was born on July 30, 1935 in Cambridge, OH., the son of Clifford and Martha (nee. Gander) Carpenter. He was united in marriage to Lauri Loebel on April 2, 1994 in Brookfield, WI.

Don spent the first fifteen years of his life in the quaint town of Cambridge, Ohio after which he moved with his family to Gary, Indiana where he graduated from Calumet High School. After high school, Don joined the Army. He was stationed in France and traveled extensively throughout Europe, being honorably discharged after 3 years of service.

Upon returning to the U.S., Don attended Purdue University where he received an Associate’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. After graduating, Don began his life-long career supporting scientific research at Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Il. After 9 years at Argonne, he joined the newly formed Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Il.  During his 31 years at Fermilab, Don played critical roles in support of pioneering, high-energy physics experiments, most notably in the fixed target program. He also was an active social member of the Fermilab community, involved in activities such as swim and tennis recreation, the Fermilab User's Center, and the fine arts programs. He loved working in the academic environment, where technicians and engineers rubbed shoulders and shared beers with grad students, professors, physicists and Nobel laureates.

Don was married in 1961 to Helen Tiliakos. They had four children with whom they enjoyed many sun-filled, beach vacations and spent many warm weekends at Fermilab’s pool. When not enjoying the summer sun, Don could be found gardening and working on his 100-year-old home in Lockport, Il.  His skills as a craftsman made this house a functional home while meticulously preserving its historic integrity.

Not only did Don appreciate historic homes but also antique cars and glass. Among the many interesting cars Don owned during his lifetime, many would recognize his 1967 yellow Chevy Camaro. This car was a mainstay in town parades.  He also was an avid, life-long collector of Cambridge glass and active member of the society of National Cambridge Collectors. Don had high appreciation and a good eye for exquisite, hand-made glass. During his life he curated an extensive collection that he proudly displayed in his home. His passion for glass collecting was passed on to his kids.

While living in Lockport, Don and his family were active supporters of the First United Methodist Church. During his 30 years of membership, Don was known for his tireless service to the Church including organizing the annual church fund-raising sale, managing the annual pancake dinner and serving on the Church Council, Men’s club, and Board of Trustees. He was recognized in 1975 as Man of the Year by the Church.

As one reflects on life, there are always milestones that mark the beginning of new chapters. April 2, 1994 represents one of those milestones in Don’s life. After 11 years as a widower, Don had the good fortune of marrying Lauri Loebel, whom he had met at Fermilab several years earlier.  From the moment they met in the autumn of 1989, they were a devoted and inseparable couple.  With Lauri, Don's passion for cooking and his love of being an impeccable host was expressed in many dinner parties (where the guests were privileged to use pieces from his Cambridge crystal collection), family gatherings, and for many years, the annual Halloween Party (costumes required!).

During these years, when Don's children were well along the road to their own successful adult lives and he was relieved of the responsibilities of day-to-day single parenthood, he and Lauri were able to indulge in their love of travel.  Many vacations were spent in the car on long road trips, within the U.S. visiting family and friends or touring national parks, or in Europe visiting historic sites (and pubs!).  Don would frequently come home with new recipes to try, extending his talents in the kitchen to include regional cuisines from many cultures.

A life so well lived can only happen when values are aligned with actions. Don deeply believed in hard-work, acting with integrity, and respecting the past. He woke before dawn nearly every day and measured the quality of his day by the results of his work. He said what he meant and meant what he said and was, without exception, known to be a man of his word.  And he looked to the past with tremendous reverence, serving as the family historian and archivist and enjoying the company and counsel of his many senior friends.  Don leaves this world a better place because his values were acted upon. Among his final words of advice: be kind, be thoughtful, be considerate and caring.

Don is survived by his loving wife, Lauri Loebel Carpenter; his children, Diane Carpenter (Michael) Pullara, Dana Carpenter (Mike Amerine), Stacy Carpenter (Greg) Bella, D. Chris Carpenter (Ann); nine grandchildren, two great grandchildren, one brother, two sisters, and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded by his parents, his first wife and mother of his children, Helen Tiliakos Carpenter, and one brother. 

A Celebration of Life Gathering will be held from 12:00 AM until 2:00 PM on Saturday, March 30, 2019 at Moss Family Funeral Home, 209 S. Batavia Ave. Batavia, IL. 60510.  A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 2:00 PM., followed by a memorial dinner in Lockport, IL.  Interment will be held privately at Lockport Cemetery in Lockport, IL.

In lieu of flowers memorial donations in Don’s name may be made to; American Heart Association, American Lung Association or The Batavia Food Pantry.

For additional information please contact Moss Family Funeral Home (630) 879-7900 or

Guest Book

  • Bob Thompson Don was a good man and a dear friend of my father, Henry Thompson. They spent many hours working together at the First Methodist Church in Lockport. After my dad became homebound Don would visit him often. He will be missed.
  • Ken Loebel Don was a wonderful brother-in-law and friend. He lived a full life with a strong will and a great laugh. Will always fondly remember Don and how he brought joy to Lauri, Mom, Dad, Pam, Alexa, Michaela and me. His emails will be missed.
  • Phil Sheets Don is still fondly and strongly remembered by the First UMC membership. I am honored to have a roll on March 30 in celebrating his life.
  • Liz Duty I was so sorry to hear of Don’s passing. I knew Don from working at Fermilab. We had many laughs together. Will always remember him as a good friend. My deepest sympathy to the Carpenter family.
  • Herman White Our family extends our deep condolences to Lauri and Don's family. I will always remember him as an exceptional man in character and friendship.
  • Amy (Schuler) Batson Thoughts and prayers to the Carpenter Family.
  • Robin Kontor We are so saddened to hear about the loss of sweet Uncle Don. Our prayers are with all of you during this very difficult time.
  • Cindy Stelling White Diane, Dana, Stacy & Chris - keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers. Your parents were both very special people. They both lived well and left quite a legacy.
  • Fred Rittgarn I never saw Don when he didn't have a smile on his face. Anyone entering his shop would receive a warm greeting and possibly even a short funny story or two. His name and presence is not easily forgotten with time. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family- Fred and Pat Rittgarn
  • Jenny Rapovich I am so very sorry for your loss. I knew Don from working at Fermilab. He was a great man and always had a smile on his face. May he rest in peace.
  • Susan Gorman Lauri, my heart goes out to you at this very difficult time. I'm so glad I got to meet you and see how much the two of you loved snd respected each other. I know yiu have many wonderful memories and I pray they help comfort you.
  • The Skubes Thinking of you all, and sending a ton of love your way.
  • Wendy (Squires) Bruin Thinking of the Carpenters and extended family. So sorry for the loss of Don. Peace be with you all.
  • Rhonda Cannon Deepest Sympathy to my friend Candy Carpenter-Valpo and the entire family . Prayers that Gods Promises will comfort you in your time of sorrow.
  • Frank and Bernadine Bella He was our friend...a good, kind man. He will be missed.