Oct. 16, 1931 – Jan. 20, 2018
Donald F. Carpenter was a school custodian, a volunteer firefighter and a credit agency worker, but the Meadow Spring neighborhood knew him as “The Cotton Candy Man.”
Beginning in 1963, he hosted a cotton candy party every August for children in the area and their parents. He continued until 2016.
“That created a community in our neighborhood and really brought the neighborhood together,” said his daughter, Dawn Choudri. “The children would grow and bring their children.”
Mr. Carpenter died Sunday in his home in Getzville after a period of declining health. He was 86.
Born in Buffalo, the adopted son of Felix and Helen Ciesielski, he joined the Army several months after graduating from Akron High School.
He served as a medic on the front lines in the Korean War, including at the Battle of the Punchbowl, the war’s last major offensive battle in September 1951. He was later stationed for a year in Germany.
Returning from the Army, he worked for a year at Harrison Radiator Corp., then was an investigator at Retail Credit Co., now Equifax, for 25 years. After he left in the early 1980s, he was head custodian at Maple East Elementary School for 17 years.
Mr. Carpenter was a member of the North Amherst Fire Department and helped build the new fire hall on Tonawanda Creek Road. He also volunteered on the suicide hotline for Crisis Services and was a volunteer ombudsman for nursing home patients.
He was a longtime parishioner at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Swormville.
He and his wife traveled extensively and were square dancers and ballroom dancers. At age 69, he bought a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and rode for more than a decade.
Survivors include his wife of 63 years, the former Betty L. Neubecker; two other daughters, Sue Freeman-Russo and Tina Anzalone; two sisters, Shirley and Rose Marie; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 26, in St. Mary’s Church, 6919 Transit Road, Swormville.