Bishop William Franklin Carr, Sr., Dies at 84

Bishop William "Frank" Carr and his wife, Lena Carr | Photo: Diocese of West Virginia

By Kirk Petersen

The Rt. Rev. William Franklin Carr, Sr., who was known as Frank, died peacefully at home in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on August 7, surrounded by his family.  He was 84 years old.

Carr served as bishop suffragan in the Diocese of West Virginia from 1985 to 1990, when he left to become assistant bishop in the Diocese of Upper South Carolina, retiring in 1994.

In 1985, Carr was serving as assistant to Bishop Robert P. Atkinson in West Virginia when Atkinson called for the election of a bishop suffragan, the first (and thus far the last) in the history of the diocese. Carr was elected. According to a history on a diocesan website, “When Bishop Atkinson retired in 1989 there was no coadjutor to succeed him, necessitating an election for a new bishop. The special convention called for that purpose was badly divided. The result of several ballots produced a deadlock between Bishop Carr and a rector in the diocese. The convention compromised by electing a third candidate, the Rev. John Smith of Vermont.” Carr accepted his call to Upper South Carolina the following year.

Upon retirement, Carr and his wife Lena moved to Murfreesboro to be near their grandchildren, where they worshiped at Holy Cross Episcopal. They also raised miniature horses, and Carr served as president of the Middle Tennessee Miniature Horse Club for several years.

Carr earned a bachelor’s degree from East Tennessee State University, and after working in the oil industry for several years, he enrolled in Virginia Theological Seminary, receiving his master of divinity degree in 1970. He was ordained in the Diocese of West Virginia and spent 20 years there, serving a succession of churches in the diocese before being hired on the diocesan staff.

Bishop of West Virginia W. Michie Klusmeyer told TLC that while he did not know Carr, the late bishop was remembered fondly by many in the diocese, judging by the emails he received when he notified the diocese of Carr’s passing.

In addition to Lena, his wife of 62 years, Carr is survived by four children, four grandchildren, and a great-grandchild. A funeral was held August 13 at Holy Cross.

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