On Saturday, May 4, a memorial service was held for deceased Keene State College alumni and former faculty member Don Carle in Norma Walker Hall. Carle died on Thursday, Feb. 21 at the age of 92. Carle was an active figure on campus dating all the way back to his birth.
Carle was born at Keene State College in Elliot Hospital, now known as the Elliot Center and also grew up in one of the first residences on Appian Way. Carle was a student athlete at KSC and graduated with a degree in Education. He later became KSC’s Alumni Director in 1977 until 1988. After retiring, Carle remained an active supporter of Owl Athletics and co-founded the Keene State College Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame. Carle also has an academic team award named after him.
At his memorial service, friends, family members and colleagues spoke about Carle’s life, his contributions to the college and his enrichment of other’s lives. KSC President Melinda Treadwell opened the service and shared an anecdote of Carle cheering for her and the women’s basketball team during her time as an undergrad student athlete.
“He was Keene State in many ways. His legacy here was deep. It was wide. I can only hope to love this campus as much as Don did,” Treadwell said.
A prayer was led by Campus Minister Cynthia Cheshire. Active KSC alum Norma Walker worked with Carle on the alumni association and was a friend of his. She recalled Carle’s time working behind the registration table at alumni events.
“He seemed to know every alum who walked through the door. He would welcome each of them with a ‘hi,’ a handshake and a warm smile. He was always so involved talking they finally did not schedule him behind the table any more. They decided he’d be more helpful as a welcoming committee of one,” Walker said.
Walker also noted how a bench in Carle’s honor is placed right outside of the entrance of Norma Walker Hall, so the two remain close in that sense.
Carle’s sons David Carle and Jim Carle also offered reflections. David explained the significance of World War II in his father’s life. He also shared an anecdote of Carle coming to Merrimack Valley High School where David worked and speaking with students about the war and his experience. Jim reminisced on how Carle enjoyed going out to eat at Longhorn Steakhouse in Keene because many KSC students worked there, giving him the opportunity to strike up conversation with them about mutual love for the college.
Carle’s brother Ken Carle also spoke and shared stories on growing up with Carle. Carle always took him to Boston sports games and included him socially. To this day Ken still has an affinity for Boston sports thanks to him and his brother’s trips to the games.
Other speakers included the other co-founder of the KSC athletics hall of fame Ron Butcher. As Butcher could not be in attendance, Director of External Relations Steve Fortier read Butcher’s reflections on his behalf. Former alumni relations staff member and KSC alum Mike Maher who was a colleague of Carle’s also spoke. Maher shared stories of Carle offering his plentiful information on KSC and his confiding to Maher about his lack of recognition on campus as years went on.
“I told him that this was a different life path and the people who knew him on campus were now a new generation who knew him for different reasons. While he wasn’t recognized as a former alumni director, he was recognized as Keene’s biggest fan. He had a new identity that was maybe more important,” Maher said. “He was better than a Google search when it came to anything connected with Keene State.”
Rachel Vitello can be contacted at