John Edward Carter, high school athletic director

September 28, 1998|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

John Edward Carter, an award-winning athletic director for Brooklyn Park High School who won gold medals later in tennis at the Senior Olympics and could jog a 10-minute mile well into his 70s, died Friday of Alzheimer's disease and pneumonia. He was 83.

Mr. Carter, who spent four decades teaching and coaching athletics in his native state of West Virginia and in Anne Arundel ++ County, died at Hammonds Lane Nursing Center in Brooklyn.

His wife, the former Dorothy Gaver, said her husband's belief in the values of physical fitness kept him exercising until he moved into a nursing home at the age of 79.

He walked a mile each day in their Linthicum neighborhood, often in the company of his little black dog, Midnight, and played tennis while undergoing chemotherapy for cancer in his 70s.

"He was determined not to give in," said Mrs. Carter, who added that just a few years before her husband entered the nursing home, "he was jogging a 10-minute mile. He would also stand at the net, and I would hit tennis balls to him."

"He was such an inspiration to people in the neighborhood. His whole theory was to keep yourself physically fit," she added.

Mr. Carter was born in Northfork, W.Va., and graduated from Marshall University, where he had a football scholarship and played varsity tennis.

He later coached football, basketball and baseball in the towns of Welch and Big Creek in southern West Virginia during the 1940s.

"A lot of those fellows were so poor, living on shacks on the side of the hills. He helped a lot of them to get out of the coal fields," said Mrs. Carter, who took him back to visit after he became ill in the early 1990s.

"It was like the warrior had returned. Even today, they have pictures of him in the lobbies of those high schools," she said.

"We went from hollow to hollow and knocked on doors and these grown men would come out and hug him and they would reminisce," she recalled.

Mr. Carter was later the business manager of a minor league baseball team, the Welch Miners, in Bluefield, W.Va.

In the 1950s, he and his first wife, the former Ruby Dyer, moved to Linthicum, where they taught at Brooklyn Park High School. She taught music, and he taught history and physical education and later became the first athletic director of the school -- a job he held for 20 years.

Ruby Carter died in January 1975, about the time of his retirement. He married his second wife in June 1976.

In 1985, the Anne Arundel Coaches Association gave him the Bob Pascal Award for his contributions to interscholastic athletics. The award is named for a former county executive.

Mr. Carter won gold medals three years in a row for tennis singles in his age category at the Maryland Senior Olympics.

Services are scheduled for 10: 30 a.m. tomorrow at Singleton Funeral Home, 1 Second Ave., S.W., Glen Burnie.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Carter is survived by a son, Dr. Edward Carter of Westminster; a daughter, Cheryl Carter-Pierce of Wilmington, Del.; a brother, George Lincoln Carter of Huntington, W.Va.; a sister, Eunice Carter Nute of Valley Forge, Pa.; and four grandchildren.

Pub Date: 9/28/98

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