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W. R. "Carnie" Carnahan

Sioux Falls, SD , Willard Robert Carnahan (Carnie), age 91, passed away on Saturday, April 5, 2014, in Sioux Falls at the Sioux Falls Veterans Affairs Hospital, where he received exemplary care from their gifted and compassionate staff

Public visitation is from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 8th, at George Boom Funeral Home, 3408 E. 10th Street, Sioux Falls. A Celebration of Life will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 9th at George Boom Funeral Home. Inurnment will be in the Black Hills National Cemetery, Sturgis, SD.

Willard was born in Holmes County, OH, on October 2, 1922, the son of Robert and Lillian (Parsons) Carnahan. He attended the Millersburg, OH schools, graduating from high school in 1940. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942, serving with the 88th Glider Infantry of the 13th Airborne Division at Fort Meade, SD, and Camp Mackall, NC, until late in 1944, when he was re-assigned to an Air Force Medical Unit at Bowman Field, Louisville, KY.

He married Eldora Brost on November 3, 1943, in Sturgis, SD. Upon his discharge from the service in December 1945, the couple lived in Millersburg, OH, where he was employed first by the National Tree Surgery Company and, later, by the Flxible Division of General Motors. In 1952 they moved to Tripp, SD, where he owned and operated a variety store until it was destroyed by fire in 1959. During that time he studied watchmaking and repairs with the Chicago Watchmaking Institute. From 1959-61 he worked as watchmaker for Dahle Jewelers in Mitchell, SD. In 1962 he opened Carnahans Jewelry and Gifts in Tripp, which he operated until his retirement in 1985.

Willard was a member of First Congregational Church, Sioux Falls, a past member and officer of the Tripp Commercial Club, and a member of various veterans and hobby groups. After his retirement, he and his wife enjoyed traveling and doing volunteer work. Some of his work included serving as co-supervisor of the remodeling of Tripps public library; with his wife, spearheading a fund drive for the expansion of Tripps Good Samaritan Center; supplying gifts for disabled veterans; and, for many years, making toys to donate to charitable groups for distribution to needy children at Christmas.

Grateful for having shared his life are Eldora, his wife of over seventy years; daughter Cheryl and husband, Steve Hahn, of Rochester, NY; son Craig of Minneapolis, MN; step-sister Anne Archer, nephew Robert Elder, and niece Carole Ann Miller, all of OH, and other family members and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters.

Memorials preferred to First Congregational Church, Sioux Falls, or the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

An online obituary and registry is available at