Charles W. Carman

Pages 248-9-10 = Charles W. Carman, who died September 19, 1919, is remembered as having been one of the foremost residents of Grand Rapids. Few men possessed a greater understanding of the needs of the community than he, and he was ready, at all times, to take a leading part in any project, civic, educational, social welfare or industrial, which promised to make the city a better place in which to live. Charles W. Carman was born in Walworth, Wayne county, New York, in 1858, the son of John and Electa Ann (Camburn) Carman, natives of that state. In 1884 Mr. Carman came to Grand Rapids as a science teacher in the high school which then occupied the site of the present Junior College. His parents, farmers and stock breeders, also came to Michigan, and settled in Fenton. After the fatherís death in that town Mrs. Carman moved to Ann Arbor, where she died several years later. In the year he came to Grand Rapids, Charles W. Carman completed the course of study he had begun at the University of Michigan. He continued as a high school teacher until 1897, when he went to Chicago to become a member of the faculty of Lewis Institute, of which his brother, George N. Carman, is now director. On June 27, 1899, he married Gertrude Gay, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George W. Gay, of Grand Rapids. After he gave up his position with the Lewis Institute Mr. Carman entered engineering practice in Chicago. Later he entered the real estate business in Chicago and western Canada and continued in this field of activity until August, 1910. He then returned to Grand Rapids, a city which derived much benefit from his earnest efforts along educational lines. He became a valuable member of the board of the Grand Rapids public library and the Kent Scientific Museum board. He was elected vice-president of the board of directors of the Anti-Tuberculosis Society, and gave his time liberally to these organizations. He took a leading part in the discussions pertaining to the proposed soldiersí memorial for Grand Rapids and Kent county, and was a member of the committee named to select a site for the memorial. Though this plan was temporarily abandoned it seems certain that the monument will be erected later, because of the impetus given this movement by Mr. Carman and associates. He was also a member of the Grand Rapids art commission; one of his dearest wishes having been to establish an art museum and a school of industrial art in Grand Rapids. He owned much real estate and personal property, and had large holdings in Alberta, Canada, where he founded the town of Carmangay, named after himself and wife. He was one of the founders of the Grand Rapids Electrical Company, and was largely responsible for the development of the electric light and power plant in that city. He was a regular attendant at the Fountain Street Baptist Church. Mr. Carmanís death, on September 19, 1919, was a deep shock to the community, which still mourns his loss. He is survived by his son, Gay Carman, of Grand Rapids, two sisters, Miss Mary Carman and Mrs. Georgie Herbst, of Ann Arbor, and a brother George N. Carman, of Chicago. Gay Carman was born June 11, 1902 in Chicago. He received his early education in the schools of that city and at Carmangay, Alberta, Canada, the town which his father founded. In 1920 he entered the University of Michigan and in 1924 graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering. He is now employed by the Consumers Power Company of Jackson in their Grand Rapids Plant. On June 27, 1924, he married Elizabeth Dykema, of Grand Rapids, a daughter of Jacob and Mabel (Watrous) Dykema. Her father, a native of Holland, was brought to the United States by his parents in 1888, when he was not yet grown. Mr. and Mrs. Cay Carman reside at 1552 Franklin street.

Transcriber: Nancy Myer
Created: 21 April  2003