Robert John Carr, A.B.S. (Aging Boy Star) age 80, was born the son of Harold & Della (Braun) Carr, December 18, 1942, in Wabasha, Minnesota. Rob Roy, an endearing nickname from his mother, discovered his love of acting and directing at an early age on Wabasha’s west side where he enlisted actors (neighborhood kids) to be in his play and coerced his brothers to take part in his haunted houses. As a student at Wabasha High School, he excelled in drama activities, founding the Hershey Players to entertain the Wabasha community. In 1960, he graduated from WHS (W-W-W, A-B-A, W-W-W, S-H-A, HIGH, HIGH, WABASHA HIGH…HERE’S TO WABASHA HIGH SCHOOL). All of his students and most of his friends and family knew the “Wabasha Fight Song”! He enrolled at Winona State College, where he excelled in acting, performing in dozens of WSC productions, many at St. Teresa College. He was proud to have performed in the first “My Fair Lady” at St. Teresa. During this time, he also taught at St. Mary’s Grade School in Winona.
In the mid-60’s, he transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, again excelling in Summer Theatre and main stage productions. He became an Equity Actor and performed with a touring company of “Glass Menagerie,” acting with the renowned Julie Hayden who created the original Laura on Broadway.
Bob graduated with a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 1970 and took a position in English and Drama at Fall Creek High School. He taught at FCHS for the next 34 years, where he coordinated the first Gifted and Talented program and founded the Japan Exchange Program. He taught in many summer programs, including the UWEC Arts Summer Institute, the Gifted School for the Arts at Brevard, NC, the Firespark Program for Gifted Students in the Arts at Gainesville, Georgia and STREAM at UW-Whitewater. He helped develop the Wisconsin ArtsWorld program as Artistic Director and teacher and served as an officer for the Northwest Education Association.
In 1966, he met his partner for life and eventual husband, Roger Groenewold. Together they founded the Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild (CVTG) which has entertained the Eau Claire community for over 40 years and has proven to be an important arts organization in the Chippewa Valley. Bob, also known as the “King of Cameos,” directed many theatre productions, taught countless classes, mentored kids and adults alike, and served on CVTG’s Board of Directors. In 2010, he received ECCF’s Children’s Legacy Outstanding Achievement Award for his work in the community.
Bob is survived by his husband, Roger Groenewold, celebrating 57 years together; his puppies, William and Curly; his foster, son Lee Hericks (Aldi Irawan); and hundreds of former students and fans. He is also survived by his brothers, Dennis (Susan McClone), Wabasha, Donald (Danaca “she who must be obeyed”), Wabasha; his sister, Marne Carr, Blaire, WI; along with loving nieces and nephews who adored his sarcastic humor and entertaining wit.
He is pre-deceased by his parents; brothers, Jerold, Ronald and Edward; sister-in-law, Sandy; and dozens of beloved dogs and cats who were family members.
Memorials may be given in lieu of flowers to the Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild, 102 W Grand Ave, or to Bob’s House for Dogs, E 3105, Co. Rd HH, Eleva (Curly’s original home) or to the UWEC Foundation, PO 1208, Eau Claire, WI for the Robert Carr/Roger Groenewold Scholarship for LBGQT Students.
Bob will be sorely missed for his wit, his inspiration, and his leadership in the arts and the community! He was a great friend, teacher and mentor. Please raise a toast with a vodka gimlet for a life well-loved and well-lived! A Celebration of Life is scheduled at the JAMF Theatre in the Pablo Center at the Confluence at 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 14. Valet parking will be available. Friends and family are welcome to leave online condolences below.