Carl Garner

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William Carl Garner (1 June 1915 - 6 July 2014) was an American engineer. He served as resident engineer of Greers Ferry Lake since its construction in 1959, and in that capacity, he organized a citizen cleanup of the area which expanded to Carl Garner Federal Lands Cleanup Day. The attention the program has received has also made people more aware of the problem of litter and preservation of the environment during the entire year.


Garner was born in Moorefield, Arkansas, the son of Burton John Garner and Minnie Pearl Morgan. He was the first born out of six raised on a farm near Sulphur Rock, Arkansas. Carl attended Sulphur Rock High School and was Salutatorian of his class when he graduated. Because of his basketball record he received a basketball scholarship from Arkansas College (Now Lyon's College) which he attended and graduated from in 1938 with a degree in economics. His first wife was Ruth Elizabeth Wade daughter of Ernest Wade & Lizzie Estella Leggett. They were married 18 Sep 1940 and had a son. His second wife, Ima Jean "Jean" Reedy, also worked for the Corps of Engineers. They were married in 1972.

Garner's forty-three year career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock Division, began in 1938 at Pocahontas, Arkansas. He was worked in the survey, mapping, estimating, construction and operational branches in MO and Arkansas. The chief construction projects he has worked on were: Bull Shoals, Table Rock, and Greers Ferry. In 1962 he became Resident Engineer in charge of operations and maintenance of the Greers Ferry Project, a position he held until his death.

Garner has received numerous awards in recognition of his work. Some of there are: 1963-Social Service Award for preparation of the late President John F. Kennedy dedication of the Greers Ferry Project and the guided tour following the dedication; 1967-President's Citation, National Water Safety Congress for outstanding efforts in water safety; 1977-Corps of Engineers Meritorious Service Award & Bronze Medal; Special appreciation awards from Governors David Pryor and Bill Clinton, and Congressman Bill Alexander; 1979-Award of Excellence from Chief of Engineers as No. 1 Resident Engineer out of 440 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes.

Garner is best known for his undertaking of the development of the Greers Ferry Lake Recreational Facilities. In 1970 he initiated in American the first annual lake shore cleanup program, which has been nationally acclaimed, receiving the Keep America Beautiful Award twice and placing five times. His last project was to secure approval and appropriations for a new Greers Ferry Information Center to be opened in 1983.

He was a fellow in the American Society of Civil Engineers, member of the U.S. Committee on Large Dams and National Trails Council, Vice-President and member of the National Water Safety Congress. Other than professional organizations he was a member of the Board of Associates of Arkansas College; Advisory Board of Foothills Vocational Tech School; Official Board of the First United Methodist Church of Heber Springs; and the building committee and service on the Board of Governors for Cleburne County Hospital.

During Carl Garner's over 57 years of public service working for the Corps of Engineers in Arkansas, he headed preparations for the dedication of Greers Ferry Dam by President John F. Kennedy and introduced innumerable families to the outdoors.

The William Carl Garner Visitor Center was named after him and is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Visitor Center for Greers Ferry Lake. The Center is located on Hwy 25 North just west of Greers Ferry Dam near Heber Springs, AR.

He died July 6, 2014 in White County Medical Center in Searcy, White Co., Arkansas. He was buried July 2014 in Cleburne County Memorial Gardens in Heber Springs, Cleburne Co., Arkansas.[1]


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