Dr. Zerle Leon Carpenter, of Bryan, died on July 23, 2017. He was of 83. He was born July 21, 1935, in Thomas, Okla., to Mildred and Ronald Carpenter. He earned a bachelor’s degree in animal husbandry from Oklahoma A&M in 1957, where he participated on award-winning meat and livestock judging teams. While there, he enlisted in the United States Army and served until his honorable discharge in 1962. On September 8, 1958, he married Eloise “Lou” Hebard. After earning a doctorate in meat and muscle biology from the University of Wisconsin, the couple relocated to Bryan.
Dr. Carpenter was a respected professor and leader in animal science, meat science and agricultural administration. In 1962, he began his 35-year career with Texas A&M University as an assistant professor of animal science. He was named head of the animal science department in 1978, and director of the Texas Agricultural Extension Service in 1982. In 1988, he was named associate vice chancellor for agriculture and later served in national advisory roles.
Among his notable contributions to U.S. agriculture as a scientist and administrator were his more than 600 articles, papers, abstracts and other professional publications, as well as his innovative leadership in Extension programming efforts which became national models. In 1987, The American Society of Animal Science awarded him the title of Fellow in recognition of outstanding contributions to the livestock industry. He retired from Texas A&M in 1997 as Director, Associate Vice Chancellor & Professor Emeritus. Dr. Carpenter was honored with many awards, but was most pleased when his former students achieved success and recognition. He was inducted into the Texas A&M Animal Science Hall of Fame in 2013 and the National Meat Industry Hall of Fame in 2014.
He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Rhonda Kay Carpenter Chubrich. He is survived by his loving wife, Lou Carpenter, of Bryan; two daughters, Jane Catherine Carpenter of Stillwater, Okla., and Kimberly (Keith) Carpenter Williamson, College Station; granddaughters Catie (Jonathan) Noles, Stillwater, Okla., Kendall Williamson and Kellie Williamson, College Station, and Kirby Williamson, The Woodlands; and three great-grandchildren, Jaden, Kai and Laney Noles.
Memorial contributions may be sent to First Baptist Church, Bryan, for the building fund, or to the Texas A&M Foundation in memory of Zerle Carpenter.
Published in the September 2018 Issue of The Cattleman Magazine