Virgil Norman Carpenter | Passages

Norm, as he was known to all, 83, of Orcas Island, Washington passed away on November 29, 2017. He was born in Los Angeles, California on November 13, 1934, the eldest of two sons born to Virgil and Melba Carpenter. The family moved to Corvallis, Oregon where Norm graduated from high school in 1952.

After high school, Norm moved to Michigan and was married to Carolyn Joan Hill. Norm had two children from this marriage. A daughter born in 1955 and a son born in 1957. Norm moved his family to Corvallis and eventually enlisted in the US Navy in 1960. Norm’s first marriage ended in divorce in 1961. While serving in the Navy, Norm was stationed aboard the USS McGinty as a mechanics mate specializing in cooling and refrigeration. He was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1964.

Returning to Oregon, Norm went into business with his father founding Valley Saw Shop; first in Alsea, Oregon before moving the business to Corvallis. Norm and his father worked together in business for several years. Eventually Norm remarried and adopted two step sons bringing the family child count to four. While living in Corvallis, Norm served as a volunteer firefighter and was a proud member of the Elks Club. In the late 1960’s Norm and his second wife Sharon began cruising in the San Juan Islands during vacations and fell in love with those magical islands. He was struck with the idea of building a marina and purchased waterfront property on Orcas Island in Deer Harbor; previously the site of a large cannery. He was among the first to build on the water after the passage of the Environmental Protection Act and spent much time and money in court to see his vision through to fruition. The Cayou Quay Marina stands today as a tribute to his tenacity. Norm’s second marriage ended in divorce and he met and fell deeply in love with Mary Ann Plummer whose own marriage had recently ended in divorce.

Norm and Mary Ann married on October 24, 1975. Mary Ann had five children from her prior marriage bringing the family child count to nine. Norm and Mary Ann continued to live and love together until his death. Norm loved playing cards, cruising aboard the Lucky C’s and spending time with his many friends on Orcas Island and in Palm Springs. Mary Ann continues to live above the marina where she and Norm shared the best years of their lives. Norm is survived by his loving wife of 42 years, eight of their nine children and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and extended family members. Norm will be missed by many on Orcas Island and beyond. Flowers and condolences to Mary Ann Carpenter, P.O. Box 116, Deer Harbor, WA. 98243.

Arrangements are in the care of Evans Funeral Chapel of Anacortes, WA. To share a memory of Norm, please sign the online guest register at