Longtime Springfield and Nixa business owner Garnett H. Carnahan passed away Saturday, February 22 at Mercy Hospital as the result of a brain aneurysm. He was 84 and was surrounded by family at his passing.
Born in Windsor, Mo. to the late Hugh and Modena Bowman Carnahan, Garnett is survived by his wife of 26 years, Caroline Lee Carnahan, and 12 children: Kathy (Jeff) Munzinger, Kenny, Gerry (Alecia), Cindy (John) Byrd, Bryan, Robin (Denzil) Hood, Chris, Kelly (Dwight) Batiste, David (Kathy), Ben (Andrea), Louann and Hugh.
He also is survived by sisters Laurita Saville and Idella Koch (Mark); 13 grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and 13 nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by brothers Frank and Marvin.
Garnett had been a Master Mason in Solomon Lodge271 of Springfield, and belonged to a Lions Club.
In addition to his family, Garnett took pride in his work as a manufacturer, inventor and real estate developer. He worked every day, including the day before he died, and was an entrepreneur in the truest sense of the word.
Coming from a poor childhood in Leeton, Windsor and Macks Creek, Mo., Garnett left home as a teenager to work in a Kansas City foundry. He also worked in a meatpacking plant in Kansas City, and later operated a service station there. Moving to Springfield in 1952, he parlayed hard work and a paid-for truck into several prominent businesses, starting with Carnahan Fence in 1952.
Garnett then started a foundry, Springfield Aluminum Company, to make fence parts, and built the company to become a supplier of aluminum castings to industries throughout the Midwest, including the boating industry.
The connection with the marine industry led Garnett to create a subsidiary, Nixa-based Springfield Marine, which makes components for boat manufacturers. Products that Garnett invented are used in boats throughout the world.
In 1969, Garnett helped start Diversified Plastics Corp. in Nixa, where he served first as president and later as chairman, positions he also held with a subsidiary, Accurate Plastics Corp.
In 1985, Garnett started importing components from Taiwan. In 1990, he started Jiangsu Carnahan Company and subsidiary Scheco Mechanical & Electrical Technology Co in China. The business expanded to manufacture marine seating and boat interiors, now with a worldwide distribution.
Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday February 27, 2014, at Greenlawn Funeral Home East in Springfield, Rev. Richard Eakins officiating. Burial will follow at 2:15 p.m. at Macks Creek Cemetery, Macks Creek, Mo. Visitation will be from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, February 26, 2014 in the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in his name be made to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, www.umdf.org.