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Carlton R. Day

November 16, 1930 — April 26, 2023

Owensboro, KY

Carlton R. Day

Carlton R. Day, 92, of Owensboro, passed away April 26, 2023, at his home. He was born November 16, 1930, in Sunnydale, KY, to the late Roy and Hazel Trogden Day. Carlton graduated from Dundee High School in 1949 and attended Western Kentucky University from 1949 until 1951.

He was in the U.S. Navy from 1951 until 1955 and served aboard the Destroyer, USS Dortch, DD 670 in the Atlantic and Pacific fleets. Carlton was in the battle of Wonson, Korea in the summer of 1952, earning a battle star for participating in the bombardment of Wonson Harbor. He made a round the world cruise in 1953 aboard the Dortch, visiting ports in nine countries. Carlton was honorably discharged after four years active sea duty, serving in the ship’s engine rooms. He attained the rank of petty officer second class and was awarded six campaign ribbons as well as the good conduct medal.

Carlton was a power plant operator for seven years and then spent eight years as a boiler and machinery inspector for insurance companies and the state of Kentucky. He was assistant chief boiler inspector of Kentucky in 1967 and 1968 and held an inspector’s certificate from the National Board of Boiler Pressure Vessel Inspectors. Carlton also earned a diploma from the Insurance Institute of America in commercial insurance studies. He was a senior loss control inspector for American States Insurance Company until he retired in 1996 after twenty years of service in six states.

A member of the Masonic Lodge since 1968, Carlton served as Master of the Lodge in 1979. He was also a member of the order of Kentucky Colonels.

Carlton was a member of the southern Baptist faith since the age of eleven and attended First Baptist Church in Owensboro. Over the years he served in several church leadership positions as a Sunday school teacher, discipleship training leader, deacon, and other various committees.

On Valentine's Day, 1958, he married the love of his life, Jane King, at Walnut Street Baptist Church. As they raised their family, Carlton began making a name for himself as a steel guitar player and songwriter.

Carlton was a musician and songwriter for most of his adult life and played pedal steel guitar for several local bands, including The Country Gentlemen, The Country Sunshine Band, and Goldie's Backstage Band. He provided lessons to local players and continued his own musical development as a student of legendary steel guitarist Buddy Emmons.  As a songwriter he was best known for his work with Mel Tillis at Sawgrass Music. Carlton had part of a number one country record when his song "Cottonmouth" was chosen as the B side of the single "Cocoa Cola Cowboy". Another of his songs "She's Been Doing That For Years" became an anthem for the POW/MIA cause.

Carlton was a private pilot and enjoyed motorcycling as his hobby. He liked to joke around and enjoyed entertaining his grandkids by dressing up as Santa at Christmas. The grandkids began to catch on and would try to sneak upstairs after he would "reappear" after Santa left and try to find the Santa suit.  His quick wit and ready smile are a lasting memory of all who knew him.

In addition to his parents, Carlton was preceded in death by his brothers, Cordell Day and Charles D. Day.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Jane King Day; their three daughters, Lauren Day Orth (Keith), Shannon Day Miller (Rick), and Carolyn Day Millay (Kevin); his grandchildren, Brittany Orth Payne (Nathan), Paul Moody (Laura McKannan), Keenan Millay (Amy), Austin Moody, Allyson Orth Grooms (Torrey), Colton Millay, Alex Miller (Alba Acosta), Kristen Orth Bustamante (Nico) and step grandson, Marcus Miller (Amy); his great grandchildren, Anna Payne, Eva Payne, Jonah Payne, Jessa Payne, Cora Payne, Betsy Millay, Olivia Millay, Hattie Millay, Ellie Sheriff, Abigail Grooms, Mia Grooms; and step great grandchildren, Ethan Miller and Grace Miller; and his beloved pets, Ginger and Tippi.

Services are private. Care by Glenn Funeral Home and Crematory. Entombment will be in Owensboro Memorial Gardens.

Expressions of sympathy may take the form of donations to First Baptist Church, 230 J.R. Miller Blvd, Owensboro, KY 42303.

Memories and messages of condolence for the family of Carlton Day may be offered online at



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