Carl G. Belcher, 86, died peacefully Dec. 20, 2010, in Nevada, Mo. He was born March 18, 1924, in Herrin, Ill., to Doran D. Belcher and Nelle Marie Schafer Belcher. At Alton High School, he was well-known for his singing voice. He sang at the school assemblies as well as at the Old Cathedral and Evangelical Church and briefly considered a career with Muny Opera in St. Louis. After high school, he was a night student at Shurtleff College devoting his days to working at the Ballistic Laboratories of Olin-Matheison. This work funded his education.
Carl became good friends with his future wife Louise while at Shurtleff College. She recruited him for a drama production because of his excellent voice. Their course work was interrupted by the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Carl married Louise Ellen Lock on March 11, 1944. Carl was called to active duty in the Army on March 9, 1944, and served in World War II in the Pacific until 1946. He was awarded a letter of commendation, praise and admiration from the 289th Field Artillery Observation Battalion, Battery "B" while serving as a Technician Fifth Grade.
Carl G. Belcher is survived by his wife Louise, Nevada, and four children, C. David Belcher, Dennis Belcher, Karen Gelbard and Martha Garton.
After the war, he returned to Alton, Ill. There he launched the Carl Belcher Real Estate Agency which ran successfully for more than 10 years and was recognized for his leadership in the community for both sales achievement and innovative advertising. He developed Blu-Fountain Estates in Godfrey, Ill. He served both as president (three times) and vice-president of the Alton-Wood River Board of Realtors and Multiple Listing. He was appointed Commissioner in 1968 to Madison County for two terms and was responsible for the assessment project of 8,000 homes for the City of Alton Sewer Improvement Project for Mayor Wiseman and Mayor Lenz. In addition, he was appointed to the board for the non-profit group Churches United for Community Betterment and developed Belle Manor, a 60 -unit FHA 236 Program for Middle Income Families for the city of Alton, Ill. Carl served on the board of Alton, Ill. Carl served on the Board of Deacons and Board of Trustees for the Upper Alton Baptist Church and was chairman of the building committee for the new sanctuary, which was completed on time and on budget and the church received recognition for excellence in design.
In 1974, Carl and Louise moved to New England and opened a women's clothing store in Keene, N.H. Careful market research, an innovative inventory control and record keeping controls made it a successful enterprise. He also was a member of the Keene, N. H., Chamber of Commerce.
In 1979, he sold the business and moved to St. Louis, Mo. There he was associated with American Business Brokers from 1979 through 1985.
In 1985, Carl and Louise returned to New England and opened Martha Adele's Inc., in Greenfield, Mass. This was an upscale women's specialty store that was open until 1994. Carl was an active member of the Chamber of Commerce in Greenfield, Mass., and supported maintaining the unique downtown shops at a time when Wal-Mart was interested in opening a store there.
In 1997, Carl and Louise moved to Nevada, Mo., home of their daughter, Martha (March) Garton. While here, he devoted all of his research skills and energies to his wife's decline in health. He researched alternative health care and vitamin therapy long before it was mainstream.
Carl G. Belcher was a brave man, from his being a forward observer in the Artillery to a risk taker as a businessman. He taught each of his children that successful people fail more, but never stop trying. He was known for his generous nature and keen mind. He shared with us his active interest in gardening and building. He was a project oriented man. He renovated and restored homes where he lived. His favorite house project was their home in Castleton, Vt.
He was amazed to have four unique children who loved him so dearly. Carl Belcher was preceded in death by his parents, three siblings and grandson, Ross Garton. He is survived by his wife, Louise; four children, C. David Belcher and wife, Dotty, of Middlebury, Vt., Dennis M. Belcher and wife, Linda, of Hampstead, N.C., Karen L. Gelbard and husband, Nick, Pacific City, Ore., and Martha (March) L. Garton and husband, Larry, of Nevada, Mo.; grandchildren, Daria Carden, Kyra Ginalski, Debra Hayes Fruenchtenict, Rebecca Williams, Kristine Belcher, Nathan Gelbard, Anna Gelbard and Megan Garton; and great-grandchildren, Eva and Priya Ginalski, Amanda Belcher, Kelsey Barry, Joshua Hayes, Sean Hayes and Grayson Williams.
Graveside services will be held at Newton Burial Park in Nevada, on Wednesday, Dec. 29, at 10 a.m. with Dennis Painter officiating. Arrangements are under the direction of Ferry Funeral Home, Nevada.
Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to the Ross Garton Memorial Scholarship Fund at Nevada High School or the Barone Alzheimer's Care Center Activities Program c/o Ferry Funeral Home, Nevada.
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