CATLIN - Gary L. Carter, 68, of Catlin, born the son of Joe and Martha Lane Carter, Superman began his journey on January 15, 1949, in Franklin, Kentucky. After a series of family relocations throughout his childhood, Gary joined the Catlin High School graduating class of 1967 as a sophomore in 1964. He was a stand-out member of the football team, possessing the ability to punt the football the entire length of the field. Nearly 25 years later, retiring guidance counselor Don Lucas would recount to Gary's son, JJ, that he had never seen another athlete during his entire tenure at Catlin High School, for or against, kick a football as far as Gary Carter.
As a senior, his involvement in the FFA prompted him to farm 40 acres on his own while still attending school. This incredible work ethic seemed to pay off the day he rolled into the school parking lot driving his 1965 Corvette convertible.
Upon graduation, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. That summer he would grade out at the top of his boot camp platoon. Serving for seven years, Gary developed a deepened love for his country, formed lifelong lasting friendships and a much larger neck size.
Gary will always be remembered for having a legendary work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit. As a young boy, he would collect pennies by the nail for removing hardware from old barn doors. This industrious personality and innovative mind led him to great success in farming and agriculture. During the early '70s, Gary partnered with his friend Joel Taylor to form the TNC Ag Group. He received numerous recognitions from the United States Department of Agriculture for his advanced methods of limestone and fertilizer application. The company would eventually reorganize and become Carter Ag. Gary expanded the business into herbicide applications and continued to be a pioneer in the industry with his ingenious inventions, some of which can still be found on OEM farm implement equipment today.
During the mid '80s following the nationwide farm crisis that prompted well-known actions such as U.S. government-sponsored set-aside programs and the Farm Aid concert series, Gary pivoted out of the business to set up another venture. He and local businessman, Tom Huffman, conceived the idea to bring a new golf course to the area. They would partner to form the Country Estates Golf Club Corporation, and shortly thereafter the Blue Needles Golf Course was born upon much of Gary's personal property just west of Catlin. Blue Needles opened in 1988 and was a great representation of his earth-moving talents and design capabilities, as well as a place for many lasting memories for many different people.
Gary finished his working career by returning to agriculture as a Farm Manager for Walker Ag Group spanning nearly 28 years. While working with Jerry Walker, they grew the company from a small, local farm to a large, multi-state operation. The group would go on to produce multiple crops such as corn, soybeans, rice, and even cotton across several states including Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas and South Dakota. They would also strike a deal for ammonium sulfate distribution with ADM (Decatur, Ill.). In recent years, Gary would spend many of his summertime Fridays and Saturdays working in the family BBQ Restaurant, High on the Hog.
Gary was a steward of the land, from farming to excavation, his talents were truly one of a kind. He enjoyed spending time with his family, solving problems, working on cars, designing and fabricating grills/smokers, mastering the BBQ pit, watching old westerns, honing his marksmanship skills on both the gun range and open range, and last but not least, going on adventures with his bride, Crystal. Gary always had a good one-liner locked and loaded for every situation, and he was well-respected by all.
He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Crystal; his son JJ, wife Tina, grandchildren Brady and Aubrey of Lisle, Ill.; son Doug, wife Robin, granddaughter Maddie of Catlin; daughter Elizabeth, husband Benjamin LaFleur, grandchildren Lincoln and Bella of Des Moines, Iowa; parents Joe and Martha Carter of Petersburg, Ind.; sister Sandy Phillips of Tallahassee, Fla.
After a hard-fought, never-yielding battle with cancer for over five years, Superman left us to be with Jesus during the morning hours of September 24, 2017.
Memorial services: 7 p.m. Friday at Catlin United Methodist Church with Pastor Joe Humrichous to officiate. Visitation from 5-7 p.m. Friday at the church.
Memorials in Gary's memory to St Jude's Children's Hospital in care of Robison Chapel, Box 79, Catlin, Illinois 61817. Online condolences at www.robisonchapel.com. Robison Chapel of Catlin is handling service details.
Published on September 26, 2017