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Carl Haskell Williams

SALISBURY — Carl Haskell Williams, 91, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family on Jan. 13, 2012, at Geer Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in North Canaan. He was born Dec. 19, 1920, in Ware, Mass., the son of the late Helen and Carl Williams. Carl is survived by his wife of 64 years, Elizabeth “Ibba” (Beebe) Williams; their three sons, R. David Williams and his former wife, Susie Williams, both of Butte, Mont., Peter B. Williams and his wife, Nancy, of Newmarket, N.H., and Douglas Williams and his wife, Jessica, of Carrabassett Valley, Maine; his brother, Edward “Ned” G. Williams and his wife, Bobbie, of Hamden, Conn.; eight grandchildren and their spouses, Shelly and Sean Cleverly, Erik and Dina Williams, Shannon and Bradley Calabro, Alexe Williams, Jesse Williams, Chase Williams, Helena Williams and Briggs Williams; four great-grandchildren, Emily and Allyson Cleverly and Jake and Joseph Briggs Williams; many nieces and nephews; and his friends and neighbors, whose friendship he dearly cherished.Carl graduated from The Lenox School in Lenox, Mass., in 1939 and earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Trinity College in 1943. A World War II veteran, one of a dwindling group from “The Greatest Generation,” Carl enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1943 and graduated with a commission from the Midshipman’s School at Notre Dame, receiving training in anti-submarine warfare. Carl served as a lieutenant commander until 1946 on the DE-411 USS Stafford, a destroyer escort serving in the Pacific Theatre. The Stafford saw extensive combat action in the battle of the South China Sea in January 1945 and was severely damaged by a kamikaze attack. He retired from the U.S. Naval Reserves in 1968. Carl participated in the Salisbury Memorial Day parade each year walking proudly in his uniform, which still fit some 60 years later.After the war, Carl went on a two-week fishing trip with his father where he met Rod Beebe at Camp Kipawa. Shortly thereafter Rod asked Carl to join him on another canoe trip. It was on Aug. 25, 1946, that the two tossed a coin to see who would have Rod’s sister, Ibba, as a passenger. Carl “won” the coin toss and the rest, as they say, is history. Carl and Ibba were married in June 1947. A fixture in the town of Salisbury, Carl was most recognizable driving around town in his Subaru with its trademark “Canoes” license plate, sporting one of his many canoe T-shirts or his famous “The Dogfather” sweatshirt, always with a faithful springer or two by his side. As a longtime dog lover, over the years Carl rescued many springer spaniels from the English Springer Spaniel Rescue League. Never one to be idle for too long Carl had many hobbies including repairing antique canoes, canning dilly beans, pickles, jams and jellies, and baking award-winning “Les Voyageurs” sourdough bread. His home, fondly dubbed “Aftermath,” resembles a canoe museum. It is adorned with an extensive collection of canoe memorabilia with over 150 framed canoe prints on the walls, most of which he framed himself. One of his favorite pastimes was to salvage discarded items from the transfer station and find new uses for them. Carl also wrote many a poem to The Lakeville Journal under the pen name, Corporal Doggerel.A teacher at Salisbury School, from 1963 to 1986, Carl held many positions during his tenure there, including chairman of the mathematics department, assistant headmaster, director of admissions and director of college placement. Carl resurrected and coached the Salisbury Ski Team beginning in 1963 and served as head ski coach until this past year, at the young age of 90. His motto was: “Ski fast, stand up and have fun,” and he encouraged his skiers to approach life the same way. The 2012 ski team visited Carl shortly before he passed away. One student shared his college entrance essay with the family which was written about Carl and titled: “The World’s Oldest Ski Bum.” In 2002, Carl was awarded the Burckett-Dodge Award given by the USSA Eastern Alpine Officials Committee for outstanding contribution to alpine officiating. He co-owned and operated Camp Kapitachouane with his brother-in-law, Roderick Beebe Jr., in central Quebec from 1947 through the early 1980s, leading generations of boys through the Canadian wilderness teaching them the basics of canoeing and camping but more importantly the value of teamwork. Carl led approximately 60 (three to five week-long) trips totaling close to 20,000 miles of paddling through southern and central Quebec, with several northern trips taken to James Bay. In 1983, he co-led a first descent of the Delay River from Western Labrador to the Arctic Ocean. Camp Kapitachouane is still owned by his family and enjoyed by his sons and grandchildren during summer vacations.Carl was truly a dedicated citizen of the town of Salisbury, giving countless hours to the many causes he so passionately cared about. He was a longtime member of the Salisbury Board of Finance, serving as chairman from 1987 to 2005; a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church, serving on the vestry; director of the Salisbury Winter Sports Association for four years; treasurer of the Democratic Town Committee; co-chair of the Salisbury Forum; an instructor of the annual 55 and Over driving course; and a founding member of the Salisbury Housing Trust. In 2011, Carl was awarded Rotary International’s Paul Harris Fellowship award for outstanding civil service to the community. He will be posthumously awarded the Housatonic Youth Service Bureau’s Donald T. Warner Community Service Award in February 2012.The family would like to thank the staffs of Sharon Hospital and Geer Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for the wonderful care they took of Carl during his illness and for their kindness and professionalism.Anyone wishing to send a condolence, post a photo, or share a favorite story about Carl may do so by searching for Camp Kapitachouane on Facebook.com.A celebration of a life well- lived is scheduled for Feb. 25, at 11 a.m., at Salisbury School. The family hopes to establish a skiing scholarship fund in Carl’s memory. Donations may be made to Salisbury School, “In Memory of Carl H. Williams,” 251 Canaan Road, Salisbury, CT 06068.

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