Col. Harry "Mike" Carmichael III, 79, of Lexington died Nov. 30

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Retired U.S. Army Col. Harry St. George Tucker Carmichael III, 79, of Lexington departed this life on Nov. 30, 2018 after a long and valiant battle with Parkinson’s Disease. 

Col. Carmichael, known as Mike to family and friends, was born on Aug. 26, 1939, in Atlanta, to Harry St. George Tucker Carmichael Jr. and Margaret Lyle MacCorkle Carmichael. He was preceded in death by his parents and one sister, Margaret “Sissy” Woolums, who made her home in Lexington, Ky.

Mike had a varied and adventurous childhood, having lived in Charleston, W.Va., where his maternal great-grandfather had been governor; in Greece, where his father was a civil engineer helping with reconstruction after World War II; and in Kentucky’s verdant Bluegrass, where his family had homes in Versailles and Lexington. After graduating from Millersburg Military Institute near Paris, Ky., like his father and paternal great-grandfather, Mike attended Virginia Military Institute ’61. He was editor of VMI’s yearbook, The Bomb, and his devotion to the Institute remained steadfast until his death.

After graduating from VMI and the University of Kentucky’s College of Law, Mike volunteered to serve in Vietnam. Upon returning home he married Suzanne Lovelace Denney of Lexington, Ky. They had two children, Tucker, now of Bowling Green, Ky., and Anne Lovelace, now Anne Lovelace Wilkie of Atlanta.

His life was devoted to his family and serving his country. He graduated from the Judge Advocate General’s School Career Course, the Armed Forces Staff College, and received a Master of Laws with highest honors from George Washington University Law School. His military service included positions as assistant staff judge advocate in Germany, trial judge in Fort Campbell, Ky., chief of the Legislation and Major Projects Branch at the Pentagon, deputy staff judge advocate for the XVIII Airborne Corps in Fort Bragg, N.C., staff judge advocate for the 172nd Infantry in Fort Richardson, Ark., and associate judge for the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals in Falls Church.

Mike left the Army in 1989 to become senior staff attorney and later counsel for the newly created Court of Veterans Appeals, by which Congress created the right of judicial review for veterans whose disability claims had been denied by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Upon retiring from the court, he was the first recipient of its Outstanding Achievement Award.

Among his other numerous decorations and citations were the Legion of Merit and, reflecting a particular joy, his Jump Wings and Canadian Parachute Badge. He was a member of the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the United States Court of Veterans Appeals, the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals, the Supreme Court of Kentucky, and the Kentucky Bar Association.

Mike’s devotion to his family was no less extensive. He coached his children on multiple soccer teams, taught Sunday school with Suzanne, and was the designated family “doctor” for the various injured birds and stray cats his children brought home. He was always ready for some fun with his grandchildren, including myriad backyard sports, many spirited chess games, and the occasional wheelbarrow ride. Though his health limited some activities in later years, he still enjoyed laughing over sports and comics, sharing stories of his youthful adventures, sending his grandchildren seemingly impossible to find gifts, and making CDs of his favorite songs for their enjoyment.

Community involvement was also vital to Mike. He served on the vestry of R.E. Lee Memorial (now Grace Episcopal) Church, the boards of the Rockbridge American Cancer Society, the Rockbridge Regional Library, and the Lexington Kiwanis Club, and was a charter member of the George C. Marshall Chapter of MOAA in Lexington. In all of these, he will be remembered for his diplomatic insights delivered with his trademark wit and humor.

Mike is survived by Suzanne, his wife of 51 years, Anne Lovelace and her husband David, Tucker and his wife Alicia, and four grandchildren: Jackson, Carson and Catherine Wilkie, and Saint Carmichael.

The family wishes to express appreciation to the fine staff of the VA Home Based Primary Care, especially Rhonda Weinhold, FNP, and Kayla Mullins, NP, to dedicated caregiver Carol Fitzgerald, CNA, and to the caring and committed staff of Carillion Stonewall Jackson Hospital.

A memorial service and Christian burial will be held in the spring at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington.

For those wishing to make memorial gifts, the family suggests the Rockbridge Regional Library at 138 S. Main St. and the VMI Keydet Club at 304 Letcher Ave., P.O. Box 932, Neikirk Hall - both in Lexington, VA, 24450.

Arrangements are by Harrison Funeral Home and Crematory.

 

 

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