Eloise Anne Carpenter
May 12, 1935 ~ August 19, 2021
Resided in: Bryan, Texas
Eloise Anne Hebard Carpenter passed away peacefully at the age of 86 on August 19, 2021. She was born May 12, 1935, in Laverne, Oklahoma, to Dr. Roger D. Hebard and Vivian Iola Roberts Hebard. They reared Eloise, her sisters Vivienne Elaine and Carolyn Jane, and their baby brother Roger, as followers of Jesus. Eloise doted on her sisters and was especially fond of little brother Rog. She and Rog were the best of pals and found mischief as often as possible, usually without getting caught. As a Baptist preacher, Dr. Hebard was called to move to churches in cities across Texas and Oklahoma, and the family moved several times during Eloise’s childhood. She spent most of her high school years at Denton High School, graduating in 1953 from College High in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
Eloise attended Oklahoma A&M in Stillwater, Oklahoma, where she received the moniker, Lou. After graduating in the first class of Oklahoma State University, Lou married her college sweetheart, Zerle L. Carpenter, at the campus church in 1958. They soon moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where Zerle earned his doctorate. In Madison, Lou performed research as a chemist at Oscar Mayer and the Institute for Enzyme Research. She fondly remembered working on projects in the lab that impacted our understanding of food safety. Lou had a passion for learning about God’s creation and how scientific observations and discoveries continually reveal His divine nature. The couple moved to Bryan, Texas, where Dr. Zerle Carpenter began his career as a faculty member at Texas A&M University.
Soon, Lou and Zerle were blessed with two daughters, Jane Catherine and Kimberly Ann. Lou was the best, most loving mother. Each morning, she read them Bible stories over breakfast. She taught them to handle ranch work, grow food, show compassion and how to be a good friend. Most importantly, she taught them to know and to love Jesus Christ. Lou was loved dearly by her grandchildren and great grandchildren; they called her “Numa,” and she loved and built special relationships with each of them.
Over the years, Lou held many positions of service in the church. She led GAs, taught Sunday School to all ages–from youth to seniors, served on committees, helped with Easter pageants, spoke at women’s ministry events, and coordinated weekly services at Sherwood Nursing Home. She was a natural athlete and coached the ladies church softball team for several years. Recently, she has enjoyed her accountability group meetings, her Monday breakfast group, Christian fellowship with friends at Margie’s grill, and serving in the Eunice class at First Baptist Church in Bryan. At every opportunity, she enjoyed attending church and worshipping alongside her brothers and sisters in Christ. Her daughters recall attending church with Lou and being amazed at the number of people who wanted to see, speak to, hug and shake hands with their mom. She was a pillar in the church and was a shining example of generosity, compassion, love and friendship. Simply put, she had a magnetic personality.
As an athlete, Lou found her niche on the golf course. She played several times weekly with her close friends at Briarcrest Country Club, eventually earning the title of Club Champion. She played in tournaments across the state of Texas and was a decorated player, garnering the status of amateur champion for the Texas Women’s Golf Association. Lou carried that competitive spirit into other parts of her life. On the dock at Camp Creek Lake, she played Scrabble with her daughters and granddaughters. Some of the words that Jane and Kim accused her of making up were not in the dictionary, but they were always at her fingertips in the Bible – which is why she almost always won. She enjoyed boating and fishing at Camp Creek. Family meals that Lou hosted at the lake made for some of the fondest memories of her daughters and their families.
Lou loved to have fun and to work hard, and to her, hard work was fun. As a child, she dreamed of having a ranch someday. In the early 1970’s she and Zerle leased a farm in Tabor, Texas, and began a cattle operation. Lou also ran a hog operation with the help of Zerle and her girls. A day at the farm wasn’t all work; in addition to building or repairing fence and working with livestock, they played games, drank cokes and ate hot link sandwiches while sitting on the tailgate of the pickup, enjoyed plenty of laughter, and they sat four-across in the cab of the pickup for the drive home.
The mischief she learned from little brother Rog carried on throughout her life. She was always ready for a themed party with her Sunday school class and, on occasion, a practical joke. She was a born leader; her friends gathered to toilet paper a house if she instigated it! She also enjoyed parties with the “little rascals”–the Williamson, Shenkir and Dudley girls.
A highlight of her life was a trip that she took to Russia to deliver Bibles to people who had longed to read God’s word. Lou studied the Bible daily and was quick to provide a verse from memory whenever the opportunity presented itself. The wisdom she shared with her family and friends was priceless, and her wise counsel will be missed by so many.
Lou Carpenter was happy here on Earth, but she is even happier in the presence of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. She was preceded in death by her parents, Roger and Vivian Hebard, her sister Carolyn Hebard and her loving husband, Zerle Carpenter. Lou is survived by her daughters, Jane Carpenter and husband, Kevin Jennings; Kimberly Williamson and husband, Keith; grandchildren, Catie Noles, Kendall Williamson, Kirby and Luke Crenwelge, and Kellie Williamson. She is survived by siblings, Rog Hebard and Elaine Gose, great grandchildren, Jaden, Kai, and Laney “Lou” Noles, her cousin Kyle Dahlem, along with her nieces and a trove of friends from all walks of life.
Services to honor and remember Eloise “Lou” Hebard Carpenter will be held Sunday, August 22, 2021, at 3:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Bryan, Texas, with a private burial at Steep Hollow Cemetery in Bryan.