William Henry was born to his beloved mother Constantia Carmen and father William H. Carmen in Brooklyn, New York on February 5, 1927. He was the first born of this union. He was nurtured by his maternal grandparents Katie and George “Papa” Anderson along with his sister Constantia and Aunt Mollie (who was like a sister to them). He grew up in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York with a lively, household full of uncles and aunts.
As a youngster William attended PS 93, Brooklyn, NY where he formed many life-long friendships with Conrad, Louisa, and Virginia and of course his childhood sweetheart 11 year old, Delia whom he later married. William was always a creative young man learning the craft of carpentry at his Papa’s knee. As a teen he attended and graduated from Boy’s High School in 1945. While in attendance he excelled in art design and was drafted to do the set design for the senior play, The Pirates of Penzance and was also selected by his art instructor to design the cover page for the first edition of the School’s Magazine, BHS Recorder which is still housed in the Boys/Girls High School Archives. William later honed his artistic talents as a student at Pratt Institute where he developed an exceptional portfolio of pen and ink drawings, oil paintings and portraits. He spent the last few years of his sighted-life compiling all of his works into an album as his legacy gift to his family.
Upon graduation William joined the United States Army in 1946 to serve his country during WWII. Though month after his commitment the war ended, he served his term stationed in Texas where he was filled with pride and delighted in seeing and talking to pilots of the Tuskegee Airmen first-hand when they landed at his base. He was honorably discharged as CPL and returned home to begin his civilian life. In later years he and his family proudly had his son Kenneth, a Vietnam veteran, and his names inscribed on the Veteran’s Memorial Wall at Eisenhower Park in Hempstead, New York.
William was a United States postal worker and later joined the ranks of the Uniformed Sanitation Department where he retired from in 1989 after twenty years of service. He often quipped and was amused that the City had to pay him for more years in retirement than he had worked. Though he left city employment he continued to share his artistic talents in home improvement projects for family and friends.
William married his childhood sweetheart Delia Morris December 31, 1946. They resided with her parents for a short time before moving to the Alfred E. Smith Houses on the Lower East Side until they realized their American dream of moving to the suburbs. They shared their home on Harriet Avenue, Hempstead, New York for sixty years. Dad found great pleasure in doing home improvement projects and decorating the house for holidays, a chance to demonstrate his artistic aesthetics. Their home was the hub for numerous family/friend gatherings, one of the most memorable family traditions that they originated was the annual tree- trimming celebration. When William and Delia hung up their aprons, the tree-trim tradition continues to be sustained by his nephews’ Eddie and Bobby with Willy C’s famous egg nog recipe, of course.
From their union William and Delia had three children Catherine, Kenneth (pre-deceased) and Delia.
In his final years when his devoted children drove him about due to his impaired vision, whenever we arrived home he would say, "Home again, home again Zippity Doo".
Yes, Dad you are Home again Home again….
We will miss you, but you will reside in our hearts along with Mom forever.
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