PUBLISHER, bookseller, environmentalist and community activist Jon Carpenter will be remembered for his radical and alternative bookshop – EOA Books on Cowley Road.

More recently, Mr Carpenter was known for his business Evenlode Books in Charlbury, as well as his involvement in the Charlbury Refugee Action Group and Extinction Rebellion.

Jonathan Carpenter, born 2 May 1944, was the only child of William and Kathleen, and grew up in Banstead, Surrey. He came to Oxford to read modern languages at St John’s College in the mid-1960s. That was followed by a temporary excursion into theology at Ripon Hall on Boar’s Hill.

Mr Carpenter had a daughter, Ele, with Di Macdonald in 1971. In 1974 he married Jenny Linsdell; they had a son, Ben, in 1975, and were together for 10 years.

From his home in Magdalen Road, Mr Carpenter started a free community newspaper, the East Oxford Advertiser, distributed to 3,000 households in East Oxford.

Inside were articles, information on welfare benefits, demos and public meetings, planning applications, residents associations’ reports and readers’ letters.

The advertiser helped Mr Carpenter establish EOA Books at 34 Cowley Road in 1971. The bookshop sold all sorts of publications not available in mainstream shops, on radical politics, feminism, gay rights etc, and its back room housed meetings of community action groups. The shop was a core part of the community, a meeting place, and a source of ideas before the internet.

In 1982, Oxford City Council wanted a huge rent increase, so Mr Carpenter found Anthony Cheke and Ruth Ashcroft who established the Inner Bookshop, selling books on ‘mind, body & spirit’ in the back of the shop.

Sharing the premises allowed Mr Carpenter more time for community action, and from 1979, inspired by the Oxford Ecology Movement’s experiment in green politics, he took up green issues with a passion, becoming one of the prime movers, of the emerging Ecology Party, now the Green Party.

In 1980, he created and published another news-sheet – Greenfly – Oxford’s ecology newspaper. In 1982, following a motion passed at the Ecology Party conference, he took the lead in setting up Green Line magazine. Pre-computer, it was manually prepared, collated and folded at his home helped by family and friends.

As the first wave of alternative and radical politics faded under Thatcherism, Jon left EOA Books to the Inner Bookshop in 1988, and with his then partner, Sarah Tyzack (with whom he lived for over 20 years), moved to Finstock in the mid-1990s. He set up Jon Carpenter Publishing and Wychwood Press in Charlbury, publishing several books on Oxfordshire history and folklore, and also more widely, on social issues.

In 2000, Mr Carpenter opened Evenlode Books in a tiny 9 x 11 ft space on Charlbury’s Market Street. It was the town’s first ever bookshop. It became a cornerstone of Charlbury’s community, much missed since he retired in 2014.

In 2009 Jon and Sarah separated and he moved to live in Charlbury, giving his energy to Charlbury’s community cinema, where he met Angela Gwatkin. They set up and ran the Charlbury Refugee Action Group and Extinction Rebellion Charlbury.

Motor neurone disease increasingly restricted Mr Carpenter’s movement and speech during his last two years, cruelly timed with the added stress and social restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic. He died on June 9.

He is survived by his two children Ele and Ben, grandchildren Dylan and Leo, and by Angela, his partner of 12 years, who cared for him so deeply and with such commitment throughout his illness, enabling him to stay living at home until the end – his primary wish.

His life was celebrated at a secular funeral at the North Oxfordshire Crematorium on June 30.