Obituary Details

Garfield John Karpiak

June 5, 1954 - July 1, 2020

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Notes

Garfield John Karpiak, 66, of Raleigh, NC died suddenly on July 1, 2020 at his mountain retreat in Banner Elk, NC. Garfield was born in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada to Nestor and Anne Karpiak on June 5, 1954. He graduated from Levack High School in 1972, and received a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo. He also completed a teaching certificate and several mechanics certifications.

Garfield spent 2 years in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Africa teaching at the Training Institute in Sarugi through the Cuso International Program. He then taught for a year in Thunder Bay, Canada before he moved to Bermuda to teach Auto Mechanics at Bermuda College. At the Bermuda Bridge Club, he met the love of his life, Laura Kleber. They married on December 12, 1997 at their home on Keith Hall Road overlooking the harbor in Bermuda.

In 1998, Laura and Garfield moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, where he worked for a general contractor before starting his own small construction company. Laura and Garfield moved to Raleigh, NC, in 2001. After working for several general contractors, Garfield became a general contractor and ran his own contracting business for several years. He finished his career as a construction manager for a local Raleigh builder.

When he wasn’t working on other people’s homes, Garfield worked creatively on his own home, and his carpentry skills are evident throughout. He was much beloved in his Five Points community for his generous advice and assistance to his neighbors and friends. In his spare time he built a classic “Zip” wooden boat. He celebrated its completion on his 60th birthday by giving it a workout on Windy Lake, Ontario where Laura and Garfield enjoyed their lakeside cottage. He was an active member of The Antique & Classic Boat Society, where he acted as Secretary the last 2 years.

He had a great love of classic cars, especially original Mini Coopers. He was fortunate this year to find a 1990 Mayfair Mini Cooper, which he just finished restoring. He enjoyed driving it around town and especially enjoyed testing it on the mountain roads of western North Carolina.

Garfield was preceded in death by his father, Nestor.

He is survived by his loving wife, Laura; his mother, Anne; his sister, Beverly Gordon; his niece, Dylan; his son, Rodney Gravelle; and three granddaughters.

A celebration of Garfield’s life will be planned and announced at a later date when Covid-19 allows his friends and family to gather.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Garfield to the SPCA of Wake County, https://spcawake.org/, the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, https://www.foodshuttle.org/, or the Shawneehaw Volunteer Fire Department, 171 Rominger Rd, Banner Elk, NC 28604.
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Posted by:
Duarte (Ed) Cordeiro
Posted on:
July 14, 2020
So sorry to hear of Garfield’s passing. Worked with him at the Bermuda college and have many fond memories of our time there. Garfield was a proper friend. Heart felt condolences to his family. Ed Cordeiro, Cornwall. Uk
Posted by:
Weslyn Friley
Posted on:
July 12, 2020
God bless Laura and all those who’ve been touched by such a kind soul. Garfield was such a kind man, he’d give his shirt off his back... or in my case, his truck, when I was in need. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Garfield say an ill word of anyone.... and the way his eyes lit up every time sweet Laura walked in the room - that was priceless. Garfield will forever be missed.
Posted by:
Charlie and Betty Kleber
Posted on:
July 12, 2020
The song has ended, but the melody lingers on- you will be greatly missed and well remembered- Love Charlie, Betty, Riley and Nick
Posted by:
Sharon Conley
Posted on:
July 12, 2020
Garfield was a very supportive and talented member of the wooden boating community. He was looking forward to spending time at his mountain home. Sending our sincerest condolences to Laura and his family,
Bill and Sharon
Posted by:
Laura Bernal
Posted on:
July 11, 2020
I'll always remember Garfield walking down Whitaker Mill with his lovely dog. He always had a smile on his face. We will all dearly miss you!
Posted by:
Lisa
Posted on:
July 10, 2020
Garfield was gentle, kind, creative, and loving. He made our world a better place, and for that, we were fortunate to know him. We raise a glass to you, good friend. Lisa and Gary
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