Carlton Eugene French, a loving husband, devoted father, and esteemed member of his community, passed away unexpectedly on June 15, 2023, at the age of 76. He leaves behind cherished memories and a profound impact on the lives of those who were fortunate to know him.
Born on April 10, 1947, to Elaine and Wayne French, Carlton’s early life was shaped by a strong sense of duty and honor. Carlton was mentored by his father in the mechanical trade, and went to work at Smyly Buick of Malden, Massachusetts, beginning his freshman year of high school. He graduated from Malden High School in 1965. Upon graduation, he felt a calling to serve his country and joined the United States Navy, bravely serving as a veteran of the Vietnam War. Carlton’s time in the Navy instilled in him a deep appreciation for sacrifice, camaraderie, and the values of loyalty and courage. He served most of his four years of service on the USS Hancock stationed in Vietnam. After his honorable discharge from the Navy, Carlton attended mechanical college and pursued a career as an airline mechanic with TWA, where his meticulous attention to detail and technical expertise were greatly valued. His dedication and commitment to his craft earned him the respect and admiration of his colleagues.
After many years of hard work, Carlton eventually retired to embark on a new venture, starting his own business. Midwest Corvettes and Classics specializes in the restoration of Corvettes. His passion for classic cars and his exceptional craftsmanship made him a sought-after expert in the field. He recently sold his business and planned to travel the country in his pristinely restored 1955 Chevy Belair, which was handed down to him by his maternal grandfather.
Beyond his professional achievements, Carlton’s greatest joy in life came from his role as a husband, father, and grandfather. He shared a deep and abiding love with his wife, Claudia French, who stood beside him for 35 years, providing unwavering support and companionship. Carlton will be forever remembered and cherished by his son, Tim French, as well as his sister, Pat LaPierre. He also leaves behind his stepdaughters, Frauntene McLarney and Freedom Dean-Flowers, who he accepted as his own. He was a beloved grandfather to Willow and Gavin McLarney and Rowan and Griffin Dean-Flowers.
Carlton Eugene French’s legacy will live on through the memories and lives he touched. His kindness, integrity, and unwavering dedication to his family and his country will forever inspire those who had the privilege of knowing him. He will be deeply missed and warmly remembered by all who loved him.
A memorial service will be held at Fry-Bross & Spidle Funeral Home in Kearney, MO, on June 27, 2023, at 1 p.m.
Our Sincere Condolences
May fond memories help to ease your loss. We all loved Carl and enjoyed his company at Bloomington and his expert Corvette knowledge in the shop. You have my deepest sympathy.
Brian, Cora and I want to send our deepest condolences to Claudia on the passing of Carl. We were looking forward to hopefully seeing you both at Corvette events this summer. We will miss him.
This is a surprise and shock. Carl restored a couple of Corvettes for me and was the at the top of his game. His knowledge and work ethic are legendary.
He was a great guy and our thoughts and prayers are with Claudia and his family. He will be missed.
I will miss my friend, my TWA co-worker, and my Corvette restorer. Carl was so amazing in his gift of restoration of cars and greatly appreciated his expertise in restoring my Corvette. He was always a pleasure to fellowship with and always had a story or two to tell. He will be greatly missed by so many that loved him, and I just want to add my name to that list. Claudia, our hearts and prayers are with you during this extremely difficult time.
Love, Tom and Renee
My deepest condolences to Freedom and her family as they say good-bye to her stepfather. May you and your family be surrounded with love and light and hope for the future. Hugs!
Just learned of Carl’s passing. So sad and by my reckoning still way too young. Marta and I know Carl from his days in California in the 70’s. We were good friends and had a lot of great times at the beach, in the city and flying in his plane. Our condolences to his family and friends.
Randal and Marta Dieringer
Carl was a large part of my life from 15-30. He was such a fine man. My life was shaped greatly by our relationship and the friends & adventures we had together. I am so sad to hear of his passing. But the life he built after I knew him was his perfect life & I am sure he loved every minute of it and those he loved. He deserved that final hurrah in his Chevy. RIP dearest Carl.
I am shocked to learn of Carl’s passing. I knew Carl in California in the nineteen seventies as my brother in law. We spent a lot of time together at family gatherings, taking vacation trips, working on cars, and flying around the Bay Area in his plane. Carl was the nicest, friendliest guy, always willing to jump in and lend a hand on whatever project you were doing. I will always remember him as the young, energetic guy he was then. My condolences to his family and friends.
I was honored to get to know Carl when we bought his house in Liberty. He was gracious to allow us to use his mower the first summer, while he continued to work on a Corvette in the shop. I am glad that I got to visit his shop in Kearney last year. He gave me the full tour, and indicated that he was ready to sell and travel the country. He was always pleasant and friendly whenever I came across him. My condolences to his family.
Claudia, My God, I just found out about Carl’s passing. I had no idea. Right now I’m just devastated. He is one of the best human beings I have ever met. No one had more integrity. We hadn’t seen each other in awhile and when I tried to call this evening I knew something was wrong. There will always be a part of him in my 56 Chevy. However, some of my best memories did not involve cars. I was honored to be at your wedding. It was such a beautiful day. What a great time we had going to a Carl Perkins concert many years ago. And then not too long ago we attended a Moody Blues concert. From what I remember, that was his favorite group of all time. So many special memories that will last forever. Please get in touch whenever possible. Our hearts go out to you and the family.
Love, MaryAnn and Wayne Van Dine