It is with a very heavy heart that I announce the passing of ETC(SS) William D. Karr, my father. When I started NavyVets, my father was alongside me. The Chief welcomed all of our early members and he entered reunion events every month up until a couple months ago when he was too sick to do so.
Chief Karr had an incredible career - serving as Regulus Missile technician aboard the country's only SSGN (Guided Missile Submarine) - the USS Halibut during the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis. When his job took him to Vancouver, Canada for 6 years, my father drove hours to Bellingham, Whidbey Island and Tacoma to serve in the Reserve.
He loved the US Navy and loved this country. Our Chief was the essence of the United States Navy Chief. He was a teacher, a mentor, a leader... and he invested his entire life investing his time and funds in people. His honesty and integrity were impeccable. He brought honor to the flag and to the anchor he wore.
He was incredibly proud of my service as well. When I went to Desert Shield and Desert Storm, my father and mother drove from their home in Bradenton to Norfolk to see me off. My mother started a program to send care packages to sailors. They now have 2 Grandsons actively serving - one is an Ensign heading to flight school and another is actively serving onboard the USS George H. W. Bush.
When 9/11 happened, the Chief wrote the President of the United States and asked him to rescind the age limits on service and to allow him to return to active duty (he retired with 7 gold hash marks). He was disappointed when that didn't happen.
He continued to serve people at his Church, through the Knights of Columbus, through charities and through a handyman business where he served many, many elderly people in his community . He was an established craftsman and carpenter, making beautiful furniture for many of his neighbors.
He was faithfully married to his wife, Carol, for 48 incredible years. Carol was by his side yesterday morning, as was I, as he ended his incredible battle with Leukemia that took him at 72 years young.
- A wake will be held at Toale Brothers Funeral Home on Friday, July 26th at 912 53rd Avenue W, Bradenton, FL.
- Services for the Chief will be held Saturday, July 27th at 10AM at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church, 833 Magellan Dr, Sarasota, FL 34243.
- In lieue of flowers, the Chief asked that you donate to Wounded Warriors.
I'm sorry that my father did not see the day that NavyVets.com was granted Veteran's Charity status. This is still underway. However, his memory will live on with the memories of all our members here.
"Here he lies where he long'd to be; Home is the sailor, home from the sea."