Thad Carr

It’s a pleasure to introduce my friend Thad Carr as the tenth club member to be awarded emeritus status. Born and raised in Ohio, Thad chose Ohio State University for his undergraduate degree, later receiving a master’s degree from the University of Michigan. Thad and his wife Roseanne (who eventually raised a family of three daughters and a son), came to Ann Arbor in 1945 after World War II to accept a teaching position offered to him by Superintendent of Schools Otto Haisley. That was the beginning of a long and successful career with the Ann Arbor Public Schools which included classroom teaching, three different principalships and many years as director of personnel.

Our 65-year friendship began in 1948, when we were both members of the same church. In addition, for eleven of those years, I had the privilege of working with him in the schools. But first some comments about Thad’s experience as a member of what Tom Brokaw described as ‘The Greatest Generation.’ He was among the greatest of the great. He joined the fight as an officer with the 805th Field Artillery Battalion, initially in Africa, especially Tunisia, eventually earning three Bronze Stars for his participation in three different combat campaigns, including the Italian. Most impressively, he received the Silver Star. I quote selectively from a long citation: ‘For gallantry in action…when his battery was attacked and surrounded by approximately 300 enemy infantry and 30 enemy tanks…Captain Carr gave an outstanding demonstration of leadership and courage in organizing a close-in defense….Captain Carr undoubtedly saved the lives of his men by timing the many enemy mortar barrages. Captain Carr’s courageous leadership was exemplary and was a splendid inspiration to the men of his command.’  I should have mentioned earlier that he received the Purple Heart for suffering a major wound.

Now, on to his professional contributions. It was in his important assignment as Director of Personnel that he played the key role affecting the nature and quality of the faculty. When Superintendent Jack Elzay was appointed in 1953, the pupil enrollment was 6,200. When he left in 1977, it was 18,145. Every new teacher applicant was initially interviewed by Thad before being sent to a principal for a second judgment. In addition, he was on the road to attempt to recruit teachers in short supply. Not until late in his assignment did he have an assistant.

It was in 1977 that Thad joined Rotary. When reviewing our directory, I discovered that only fifteen of our current 316 members had joined before 1977. He has, of course, been in the category of ‘active exempt’ for a number of years. Nevertheless, for thirty-six years he has been a dues-paying member, and on time, I bet.

Please join me in thanking Thad for all he has contributed as soldier, educator and Rotarian. Congratulations to you, Thad, for your new status as an Emeritus.

The soon-to-be 94 Thad Carr received a fine ovation as he accepted his Emeritus status and appropriate gifts from the secretary. (Tribute by Scott Westerman, October 30, 2013)