The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Dan Carmichael Jr.


August 7, 2018

STEVENS POINT, Wis. - Dan Carmichael Jr. passed away on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, at the age of 85. He had recently moved back to Stevens Point to be closer to his daughter, Betty. One of the things Dan enjoyed most in his later years was writing down his life story to share with his families. This obituary is based on many of his own written memories.

Dan was born on April 2, 1933, to Betty Erwin Carmichael and Dan Robert Carmichael Sr. He had a happy childhood there surrounded by family, including his sister, Gail, and close neighbors, the Lofgren and Barber families. Dan spent his high school summers working as an assistant wrangler at Shadow Mountain Ranch, a dude ranch owned by his uncle, Paul Carmichael, in Colorado. He graduated from Oak Park High School in 1950, then decided to take a road trip around Lake Michigan with a friend in his 1931 Model A Ford. As Dan wrote, "In the rural areas of Upper Michigan the roads were very bad. In one area we came to a logging camp and a lumberjack provided us with directions. My companion hated the rural areas of Upper Michigan. He thought we would die." For Dan, however, the trip ignited a spark of passion for exploring the wilderness and he always felt strongly about protecting America's few remote places.

Dan attended Knox College, where both his parents had gone, and was a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity there. Dan loved reliving the stories, songs and mischief of his time at Knox and the Beta house. He graduated in 1954 and was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1955. He spent most of his time in the Army at Fort Campbell, Ky., where he worked as a clerk in the hospital there. He enjoyed its proximity to the Nashville music scene and Dan retold the story many times of spending an evening in a bar talking to an up-and-coming Johnny Cash.

After leaving the Army, Dan worked for the Bell Telephone company, married his first wife, Loraine Fortson, and welcomed his daughters Lynne and Lisa. Dan earned his master's degree from Northern Illinois University in 1963, then began work as a teacher for District 205 in Chicago's south suburbs. He worked there as a teacher, then later as an administrator until 1988. He met his second wife, Mary (Kulick) Carmichael while teaching at Thornridge High School. Together they had two daughters, Sarah and Beth (Betty). They lived in Homewood, Ill., and had a summer cabin at Moraine Lake near Marenisco, Mich., where Dan really felt most at home.

After his retirement, Dan and his family moved to Stevens Point to be closer to family and to Moraine Lake. Dan kept busy during retirement by doing home improvement projects and being an on-call chauffeur for his teenage daughters. He ventured far into the Ontario wilderness with his wife's uncle, Wren King, for some back country canoeing. He liked to complain about the hardships of roughing it on these trips, while his stories made it abundantly clear that he loved every minute of them. Dan and Mary bought and refurbished a home on the shores of Lake Superior at Little Girl's Point near Ironwood, Mich., and after renovations were complete Dan felt he achieved his life goal of knowing how to build an entire house.

Dan spent the last few years of his life in assisted living as his health began to decline, but he never lost his love of the Chicago White Sox, classic New Orleans jazz, playing the harmonica, eating lots of sweets, and sharing stories and facts. He cared passionately about issues of social justice including ending mass incarceration, education for all, gun control, and universal health care, as the editors for the Daily Globe in Ironwood, Mich., would attest, for they published many a letter from him about these topics.

Dan had a curmudgeonly view of the modern world, a soft heart, and took delight in laughing at the ridiculous. These traits all of his daughters share with him in various degrees.

Dan was preceded in death by his parents and by his wife, Mary.

Dan is survived by his daughters, Lynne Whitmore (Kra), of Lakeland, Fla .; Lisa Myers (Eugene) of Seminole, Fla .; Sarah Carmichael (Jon) of Pepperell, Mass .; Betty Carmichael (Paul) of Stevens Point; his sister Gail (Tom) Kimen, of Green Lake; 12 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Dan will be laid to rest in the Marenisco Township Cemetery, alongside his wife, Mary. The family will have a private memorial ceremony for him at his sister's home in Green Lake.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Wilderness Society in Dan's memory.

Ketola-Burla Funeral Home, Ironwood, is assisting the family.

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