May 25, 2007

Carpenter, Med employee, dies at 38

The Hyde Park community is mourning the death of Charles Carpenter, 38, a popular employee at the Medici Bakery. Carpenter was shot and killed Saturday night after an altercation on the 2500 block of East 79th Street. For the past seven years, Carpenter has been the face of the Medici, making a lasting impression on customers and fellow employees with his friendly and approachable nature.

Medici regulars were visibly shaken upon hearing the news of Carpenter’s death. Kirsten Esterly, the Medici’s general manager, described the impact of Carpenter’s death on Medici employees: “It’s tough; we’re barely hanging in there.... He had a very big impact on everyone in the neighborhood,” she said. Esterly said Carpenter was a highly dependable employee whose smile will be remembered by all who knew him.

A memorial for Carpenter is featured on the Medici Bakery’s counter, behind which many Hyde Park residents remember Carpenter standing. A notebook is filled with over 40 pages devoted to thoughts and memories. One Medici regular wrote, “I believe a little bit of Charles will live on in the heart of everyone who knew him.”

Most sympathizers recalled his infectious smile and devotion to the Cubs. A former employee wrote of Carpenter’s ability to develop an instant rapport with customers and quickly establish relationships with regulars. The memorial also features candles, flowers, and cards. One such card is from a classroom of local schoolchildren that reads, “He was a nice, funny, kind, and careful guy who was always there when you needed him most.” A collection box for Carpenter’s family was also placed in the Regenstein Library.

Carpenter is survived by his four children. Police are investigating the incident, but no arrests have been made. Services will be held on Tuesday, May 29, at Carter Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church at 7841 South Wabash Avenue. Services will immediately follow a viewing scheduled from 11 a.m. to noon.