Chris Carpenter Obituary, Cal Icon Chris Carpenter Passes Away At 82

Chris Carpenter, a longtime member of the Big C Society and a legend of Cal Athletics, passed away last month as a result of complications from multiple myeloma and melanoma. He was eighty-two.

Throughout his whole life, Carpenter was deeply involved in the athletic department at Cal, where he played basketball in the early 1960s. He was a frequent sight at Cal sporting events and functions. He was the president and executive director of the Big C club, an honor club that awards letters to varsity athletes at Cal.

“His Blue & Gold spirit ran deep into his veins,” said former Big C Society president Don Bowden, who starred on the track & field team at Cal in the late 1950s and was the first American to break the four-minute mark in the mile. “I am very thankful to have known Chris and very grateful for all he did for Cal and the Big C Society. He was someone that everyone respected and really loved. He was an exceptional person. He will be missed.”

Carpenter was a member of the Golden Bears basketball team from 1961 to 1964, and for a number of years he held the program record for the most fouls in a season.

He was born and raised in Kensington, which is a few miles north of campus. Cal is where he received both his bachelor’s and law degrees. After that, he worked for the Alameda County District Attorney’s office for a considerable amount of time as a criminal prosecutor before taking charge of the department’s Consumer and Environmental Protection division.

Carpenter and Cal Athletics were inseparable during the entire time. Among his many customs was representing the Big C Society at end-of-season banquets and festivities, when he would give varsity letters and converse with student-athletes about the organization’s heritage and customs.