Carl Poehler


Carl Poehler of Melrose and Tisbury died on April 2, 2014 surrounded by his family. He was 93 years old.

Carl was born at his parents’ home in Everett. His father, of German descent, and his mother, of Irish descent, had five daughters and then Carl. His being the youngest and only boy in the family, his nickname was Sonny. He excelled at scholastics and sports growing up in Everett and was the nicknamed Flash by his fellow students for his cross-country running prowess.

Carl worked for the Department of the Navy prior to the start of World War II at the Charlestown shipyard as a designer of naval ships and served on a special team organized by the Navy to find out how to fix the Victory Ships, which had a history of splitting in half on rough seas when they were first put into service.

In the early 1940s, prior to the U.S. entrance in the war, Carl received a form letter from the Reich requesting him to return to Germany and fight for the Fatherland. He rejected that notion and applied for the U.S. Army, but he was repeatedly denied entrance to the Army because the Navy had designated him as a resource for their service. He once told his son Eric that he found it humiliating to work at the naval yard after the war started. He was called a Kraut, and the secretaries of that time would say, “Close the windows: the 4-f is here, he may catch cold.”

As he later recounted, they finally got tired of him requesting active duty and let him into the Army in 1944. He was assigned to the Army Air Corps in the B-17s as a belly gunner. Thank God the war ended before he was shipped overseas otherwise it would be doubtful if he would have had his family. He told me many stories about his training in Nevada and flights over the Grand Canyon.

When released from service, Carl moved back to Everett and attended Wentworth University to study building design. He started visiting the Island and meet his future wife at the ArtCliff Diner, where she was a waitress at the time and her mother was one of the cooks. Dad married Anna Marie Andrews of Vineyard Haven and moved with her to Hamilton. But he always loved the Island and visited whenever he could.

Carl and Ann raised four children — two from Ann’s previous marriage and two boys of their own. He worked as an architect in the private sector for the next 30-plus years. He then went to work for the Boston Housing Authority as a designer and spec manager.

Carl retired from formal work at the age of 70, which freed him up to follow his passions for art, design, and function. He was an active member of the American Kite Association, traveling to China, Japan, and northern Europe to design and fly kites with like-minded enthusiasts. He also traveled to all of Europe and parts of the Middle East. His last overseas trip, which he said was one of the best, was to the Azores.

After years of international travel, he settled down to his home in Melrose. From his study he had the ability to travel throughout time and space, always designing, reading, painting and taking interest in all his children and their lives.

He leaves behind four children and their spouses, Peggy Jean and Ronald Laroche of Seabrook, N.H., Eileen and William Poehler of Burlington, Dean Poehler of Nottingham, N.H., Kathleen and Eric Poehler of Vineyard Haven, and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.