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A former Beaufort County Board of Education member who helped launch an education foundation has died.
Wayne Carbiener died Thursday morning following a long illness that included respiratory problems. He was 76.
Carbiener, who represented part of Hilton Head Island, was elected to the board in November 2008. Despite health problems, he attended meetings by phone for about a year until his term expired at the end of 2012.
Board Chairman Bill Evans said Carbiener was "absolutely committed" to the school district.
"We sat next to each other (during board meetings)," Evans said. "I really enjoyed that. He was so thoughtful and really focused on our work."
Evans said he was often struck by Carbiener's ability to succinctly summarize an issue.
"We'd have these round-robin-length conversations, and then he would get the floor and make a concise statement that summarized everything and brought it all together," Evans said.
Evans also admired how Carbiener used his school board salary. He donated all of it -- $7,500 per year -- to the Foundation for Educational Excellence. That group gives grants to teachers for classroom projects twice a year.
Carol McMillian, school district community services coordinator and ex-offico board member of the foundation, said Carbiener's donations helped the foundation grow. His first donation, in 2009, allowed the foundation to give the first round of its semiannual "Innovative Teacher Grants."
"He sparked (the foundation's) ability to get ahead," she said. "When people saw (that first round) they realized what wonderful things the grants do. He really lit the fire that started it."
The foundation has given teachers more then $40,000.
"Dr. Carbiener was such a good man, such a wise and wonderful person," interim superintendent Jackie Rosswurm said. "He cared so much for children, and he expressed that in his diligent work as a school board member and in his generosity to the foundation."
The foundation was set to recognize Carbiener at its annual fundraiser, "Jewels and Jeans," on March 2. McMillian said he will be presented the foundation's "Inspiration Award" posthumously. The award is given to someone who has inspired others to greatness, McMillian said.
Carbiener's generosity has set an example for at least one school board member. Evans said it prompted him to donate his salary, giving it to the Foundation for Educational Excellence, to a similar foundation focused on northern Beaufort County schools, or to schools and other organizations directly.
According to his obituary, Carbiener's family will have a private memorial service in Breman, Ind. Carbiener is a native of Lakeville, Ind., and has also lived in Columbus, Ohio. He retired to Hilton Head in 1994.
Evans said the board will recognized Carbiener at its Tuesday meeting.