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Obituary: George T. Carr

George T. Carr
George T. Carr, formerly of Port Washington, died on Nov. 24, 2009 at the age of 97. He was the proprietor of Carr Office Chairs. Mr. Carr was predeceased by his wife Charlotte and his son Thomas. He is survived by his wife Beatrice; daughter Nancy Karlsson (Leif); stepdaughter Janet Gray (Joel); stepson Jim Dreyfus (Terry); stepgranddaughter’s Julie Gray and Diana and Sarah Dreyfus; and many nieces and nephews.

Mr. Carr, one of 10 children, was born in Brooklyn. He attended Manual Training High School and played football during his tenure there. George moved to Great Neck when he was 22 and worked for North Shore Office Supply. In 1937, he started Carr Typewriter Co. In 1938 he made the wise decision to hire Catherine Hewlett as his office manager. The business grew and expanded both under Mr. Carr’s direction and later under Ms. Hewlett’s guidance while George was in the Army.

He began his World War II military service as a bomb disposal technician. But once the Army discovered his expertise in repairing office machinery, they put his skill to excellent use. The Army also made use of George’s knowledge of French (which he had learned from his mother) using him as a translator. At the end of the war, George returned to his business, which had continued to grow under Ms. Hewlett’s supervision.

George was known for his impeccable appearance, wearing a suit and tie to work every day. He required the same of his employees. Mr. Carr felt that both a professional appearance and a smile were good for business. Through hard work, excellent service, and a winning philosophy, his business thrived. After the death of his wife in 1973, George sold his firm, which was renamed Carr Business Systems, ensuring continuity for his employees. He continued to work there for a few years before retiring.

A restless retiree, Mr. Carr decided to start another business at the age of 64. Throughout his career, he had always adjusted client’s chairs when setting up, or repairing their office equipment. He knew that the correct height, tilt and placement of chairs were crucial to performance and well being in the office setting. A pioneer in ergonomics in the workplace, he did not believe in people fitting into chairs, but in fitting the chairs to suit the people who would use them. Carr Office Chairs was born of this astute perception.

Mr. Carr was active in many community organizations during his lifetime. Prior to the war he had been a member of the Manhasset Lakeville Fire Department Band, as a trombonist. When the band was taken over by the Great Neck Elks, George joined the Elks. After the war he became active in the Lion’s Club, becoming the president in 1948. In that same year he was instrumental in starting the Great Neck Village Business Association which became the Great Neck Chamber of Commerce. He was an active member of the American Legion, the first and organizing president of the Long Island Office Machine Dealers Association and an honorary life member of the national Machine Dealers Association. In 1996 Mr. Carr became the president of the Great Neck Lion’s Club again. He was committed to their Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind and was honored by them for his efforts on their behalf by having a guide dog “Carrgo” named after him. In 2008 George was awarded a well-deserved lifetime achievement award from the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce.

A memorial service to commemorate George Carr’s extraordinary life was to be held on Dec. 6, 2009 at 11 a.m. at Christ Lutheran Church, 47-14 Glenwood St., Little Neck, NY. A memorial visitation was held at Austin F. Knowles, Inc. Funeral Home on Dec. 7 from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Mr. Carr will be entombed at LI National Cemetery, Pinelawn. Donations in his memory to The Lion’s Club Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind or Island Harvest would be deeply appreciated.