CONCORD, N.H. — Kenneth Marriott Tarr, 85, of Concord, N.H., died Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012, at his home on Beacon Street.
Ken was born in Columbus, on June 17, 1926, the son of late Samuel B. Tarr and Nelda (Marriott) Tarr. He was a 1944 graduate of Mount Vernon High School, Mount Vernon. Upon graduation from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served with the 737th Tank Battalion, known as “Patton’s Spearheaders.” His unit was engaged in many major battles of World War II including St. Lo, Bastogne, and the Battle of the Bulge. For his service, he was the recipient of two Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart. After his honorable discharge, Ken relocated to Concord in 1946 and enrolled in the first class at New England College where he played on both the basketball and baseball teams. He then began a 23-year career as a typesetter with Merrimack Electro at the Rumford Press, where he assumed leadership positions with the workers’ union.
Ken continued a long and distinguished career in public service with his appointment in 1969 by then Gov. Walter Peterson as the Commandant of the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton, N.H. He served over two decades in that position and was instrumental in transforming the Home into a state-of-the-art facility for New Hampshire veterans. His extraordinary service to the veterans of New Hampshire was recognized in 1993 when a new building at the facility was named in his honor. He also worked tirelessly on the initial development of the State Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen, N.H.
He served on the Concord City Council, the New Hampshire State Legislature, Governor’s Commission for the Handicapped, Long Term Care Task Force, Alzheimer’s Disease Commission and Prisoner of War Commission. Ken was a Legislative Officer of the Department of Veterans Affairs, a member of the Vietnam Veterans Council, Veterans Needs Assessment Commission, Chairman of VFW Post 1631 Scholarship Committee, and was the former President of the National Association of State Veterans Homes Administrators. He was a longtime active member of many local organizations including American Legion Post 21, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Disabled American Veterans.
Ken was an avid and talented athlete who competed into his 50s. He was a renowned fast-pitch softball hurler known throughout New England. He coached American Legion Post 21 baseball for many years and also served as the District Director of American Legion Baseball. He was a player/coach on numerous local amateur basketball teams and was a mentor to many area youths. His passion for athletics continued throughout his life and, in his later years he took great joy in attending sporting and other events involving his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Ken was a wonderful husband, father and Grandpa to his family. A caring and humble man, he had a keen sense of humor and was a renowned storyteller. He will be dearly missed by his family and many friends.
He was predeceased by sisters, Wilda Harris and Isabelle Payne; and brother, Robert Ewart.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, M. Elizabeth “Betty” (Gately) Tarr; son, Thomas and wife Sandra of Laconia, N.H.; son Michael and wife Diana of Danbury, Conn.; daughter, Tracey Tarr of Bow, N.H.; and son, John and his wife Carolyn of North Falmouth, Mass. Ken’s grandchildren include Lori Derosier, Derek Tarr, Colin Tarr, Alissa Tarr, Aaron Phinney, Andrew Phinney, Rachel Wells, Liam Wells, Caitlyn Tarr, Julia Tarr and Isabel Tarr; and great-grandchildren, Jacob Derosier, Matthew Derosier and McKenzie Tarr. In addition, he is survived by his sister-in-law, Margaret Thorpe and her husband Howard of Concord, N.H.; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The Bennett Funeral Home, 209 N. Main St., Concord, N.H., is handling the arrangements. Calling hours are scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 22, from 4 to 7 p.m. in the 3 Church St. Chapel. A celebration of his life is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 23, at 1 p.m. at the Bennett Funeral Home. A graveside service with military honors will immediately follow in Blossom Hill Cemetery.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations in his memory be made to the Concord Regional Visiting Nurse Association, 30 Pillsbury St., Concord, NH 03301; or the N.H. Veterans Home Resident Benefit Fund, 139 Winter St., Tilton, NH 03276.
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