Easley community mourns loss of high school teacher Mike Carmical

EASLEY — At the age of 61, Dr. Mike Carmical, an Easley High School science teacher for the last 16 years, died unexpectedly on Tuesday, Jan. 22, of a coronary-related issue, according to Pickens County Coroner Kandy Kelley.

Described by co-workers and students alike as a great man with a terrific sense of humor, his untimely death was a huge loss not only to his family, but also to those he worked with in Pickens County. SDPC spokesman John Eby said that his students honored him last Thursday by coming to school dressed in a white shirt and wearing a tie — Carmical’s unofficial uniform.

After students learned about his death, counselors were made available to help students cope with their loss and grief.

Easley High School principal Tim Mullis said that everyone at EHS was shocked and saddened by the sudden loss.

“Dr. Carmical always had a smile on his face and was ready to help out anyway he could. He was optimistic,” said Mullis. “He was a guy who loved people, saw the good in people and really touched people’s lives.”

Born in Lumberton, N.C., Carmical began his professional life in the North Carolina textile industry after earning his B.S. Degree in Textile Chemistry and Masters Degree in Textile Technology from N.C. State University.

Carmical became the quality control manager at EMC industries in Easley in 1978. He later went on to earn his Ph. D. in Textiles and Polymer Science from Clemson University.

He became a teacher through the Critical Needs Program in South Carolina and spent his first year teaching at Gettys Middle before moving to Easley High in 1997.

Possessing a fondness for the sciences, he taught physics, chemistry and physical science, served as the adviser for the Robotics Club and was the academic advisor for the Environmental Club as well.

Cheryl Pitts, one of Carmical’s fellow EHS co-workers, said that they shared many laughs over a cup of coffee in the teachers’ lounge at school.

“I will miss his contagious smile that started many a day off right for all of us who arrived at school early,” she said. “Heaven is a little brighter today because of that smile.”

In addition to his interest in the physical sciences, Carmical also had a great appreciation for art and a love of music, which led him to serve on the board of directors for Preserving Our Southern Appalachian Music (POSAM), and he was a founding member of the Every Other Wednesday (E.O.W.) Bluegrass band.
In his personal life, he sang bass in the Pickens Presbyterian Church choir and the Men’s Chorus. He was a member of the session, served on the board of directors for the Child Development Center, and was the President of the Pickens-Liberty Lions Club.

“This is a tough loss for our school and the local community,” said EHS Principal Tim Mullis. “Mike was very active in his church and Lions Club of Pickens. He will be missed by all.”

Dr. Carmical will be remembered for his compassion for his students and the great sense of humor and love of life he shared with others.

“The school district mourns the loss of Dr. Carmical,” said Dr. Kelly Pew, SDPC superintendent. “He has had a positive impact on many families in our community. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Carmical’s family.”