Barely out of high school, Andrew "Gene" Carr fought his way across Western Europe in World War II, earning a Bronze Star, before embarking on an advertising career that created Minnegasco's trademark Indian maiden logo.
Carr, 86, of Plymouth, died of pneumonia on Sept. 1 at a St. Louis Park hospice.
Born in El Dorado, Kan., he graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a journalism degree after the war and eventually moved to the Twin Cities in 1956 for his advertising career. He helped to create ad campaigns for Grain Belt beer, Betty Crocker and Perkins restaurants.
But according to his family, Carr's most enduring professional accomplishment came in 1959 at the Knox Reeves ad agency. Part of a team that was trying to reinvigorate the corporate image of the Minneapolis Gas Co., he shortened the firm's name to Minnegasco and sketched an Indian maiden with a gas flame replacing the feather in her headband, pitching the idea to his colleagues. This longtime logo featuring "Mini" later won awards.
Carr retired from the LaBelle and Carr agency in 1990, moving to Green Valley, Ariz., before returning after several years to Plymouth.
He served as an infantryman during the war in the 7th Armored Division. After hearing a speech in a British cricket stadium from Gen. George Patton that Carr described in his memoirs as "the angriest, most profane, most obscene speech that any of us had ever heard," he landed in Normandy two months after the D-Day invasion.
Carr fought with his unit in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, accumulating five battle stars and two Purple Hearts. His Bronze Star was awarded for returning fire with a machine gun during a strafing attack by the Luftwaffe.
On a bitterly cold Christmas Eve 1944 in Belgium, his unit was suddenly attacked and routed by German Tiger tanks in the Battle of the Bulge. The concussion from a shell that struck the tank next to him blew off his helmet and ripped his rifle from his hands.
The wound that put him out of the war came in the Ruhr Valley of Germany, when a mortar shell blew him off the back of a Sherman tank. The shrapnel that remained in his severely damaged leg set off airport metal detectors decades later. He endured months of surgeries and rehab.
After retirement, Carr lent his strong baritone to recording books for the blind, played golf, read and talked about his war experiences to schoolchildren. A son-in-law, Mike Kennedy, described him as "very warm-hearted."
Carr is survived by his wife of 40 years, Edie, of Plymouth; daughters Sharon Bromen of Elk River, Barbara DeVan, Jane Kennedy of Plymouth, Sue Carr and Carolan Carr, of St. Louis Park; sons Michael Carr, Stephen Carr, and Lyle Schmaus, of Racine, Wis., and numerous grandchildren.
Visitation will be at 9:30 a.m. Friday at Plymouth Presbyterian Church, 3755 Dunkirk Lane N., Plymouth, followed by a service at 10:30 a.m. and burial at 1 p.m. at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.
Steve Brandt • 612-673-4438