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Pat Carpenter, wife of Chesapeake Beach councilman Bob Carpenter and special events coordinator for the town, died Friday evening, which stunned and saddened the community.

On his Facebook wall, Bob Carpenter wrote, “I lost my best friend today [Friday, March 2] at 6:27 p.m. EST. I will always love Pat Gardina Carpenter. She was a wonderful friend, a wonderful mother to Matt and Lane and the best partner a person could ever ask for. I will miss her every day of my life.”

County Commissioner Susan Shaw (R) said she received a phone call Friday morning that Carpenter was in a coma, caused by idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), a chronic illness she was suffering from. ITP is a bleeding disorder in which the immune system destroys platelets, which are necessary for normal blood clotting.

Shaw said she was surprised and upset when she heard that Carpenter had died.

“I was surprised because I did not know she had been ill recently … but on the other hand I knew she had the chronic problems, as did most of the people who were close with [the Carpenter's],” she said.

While many of Carpenter's close friends knew that she suffered from ITP that Shaw said she almost died from a few years ago, her death shocked her friends and the community alike.

“Because Pat was so dynamic and so energetic, probably a lot of people had no idea that she had that chronic illness kind of lurking in the background,” Shaw said.

Calvert County Board of County Commissioners' President Gerald W. “Jerry” Clark (R) said he knew Carpenter through her work on different groups and organizations in the county. He said she worked for “a lot of tremendous causes” in the county.

“She'll be dearly missed because she was a very big asset to the community,” Clark said. “She participated in a lot of great causes and was always ready and willing to help.”

Shaw said Carpenter was “very deeply committed to the community” and would completely involve herself in projects. Shaw said Carpenter was the special events coordinator for Chesapeake Beach, was on the board of governors and was the chairperson for the Calvert Marine Museum, was the executive director of the Arts Council, was part of the Bayside Business Group and owned a floral and event business called Celebrate.

Shaw said Carpenter was the “kind of person who connected people.” Shaw said she met many new people through Carpenter, who, with her husband, would host “Sunday's at 7” dinners. Shaw said the Sunday dinners were “like a pot luck open house” where people would come to the Carpenter's home with a dish.

“I met people through ‘Sunday's at 7' and I know many other people did, so it expanded the community and people's networks,” Shaw said. “She is going to be sorely missed.”

Carpenter and her husband Bob were “incredibly close,” Shaw said, because they supported and helped each other in all aspects of their life. As an example of their dedication to one another, Shaw said they both worked very hard together as chair persons for a cancer gala held several years ago at the Rod ‘N' Reel restaurant to make sure the event was successful.

“I know the community is going to be … very concerned for Bob and the immensity of his loss,” Shaw said.

Shaw said she would like to see the community come together and do something in memory of Carpenter.

“I'm sure that as part of the grieving process that the community will want to recognize her in some way,” she said.

KATIE FITZPATRICK