Frank Joseph Carter
21 June 1919 – 27 September 2018
Frank Carter passed away peacefully Thursday, 27 September 2018, at ninety-nine years of age.
Services will be held at the Trinity by the Sea Episcopal Church in Port Aransas on Saturday, 27 October 2018, at 11AM with reception to follow.
Frank Joseph Carter was born on June 21, 1919 in his family home, the Maverick Carter House, in San Antonio, Texas.
Frank was the son of Henry Champe “H.C.” Carter, former president of the State Bar of Texas, and Aline Badger Carter, astronomy educator and Poet Laureate of Texas. Frank was the last living grandchild of Rawleigh Downman Carter and the remaining progeny of Rawleigh’s twenty-two children. The three generations spaned 222 years from the age of the Washington administration in 1796 to the present in 2018. Frank was also the last surviving of the three Carter boys from H.C.’s marriage with Aline.
Frank graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio in 1938. He excelled in sports and was respected by his peers. Frank attended Sewanee University as part of the class of 1942, where he earned a B.A. in Spanish and was the captain of the track team. Frank was inducted into the Sewanee Athletics Hall of Fame in recognition of being a Tennessee State Champion and school record holder in five events: The 100, 220, 440 and 880 yard and mile relays. He was undefeated in high school and college in the 220 yard dash.
Frank would joke that these records are still unbroken and will remain so due to the adoption of the metric system.
Frank enlisted in the Navy in early 1942. He served on the USS New Jersey, the most decorated warship in U.S. naval history. As a fire controlman, Frank was directing two 5" anti-aircraft turrets, also used for shore bombardment, on the starboard side of the ship.
Frank acted both as a Gun Rangefinder Operator and Spotter. His post was on the front center of the ship, right above the bridge where Admiral Halsey, Admiral Spruance, or even Admiral Nimitz and staff ran the operations of the fleet. Thus, The USS New Jersey served as the flag ship of the fleet.
While in the Pacific Theater of WWII, Frank served admirably in military engagements such as Kwajalein, Truk Attol, Caroline Islands, Palau, New Guinea, Saipan, Marianas, Philippines, Formosa (Taiwan), Battle of Leyte Gulf, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. During these battles he and his ship mates faced attack from enemy planes, ships, and the terrifying kamikaze attacks. Frank was witness to the kamikaze planes that crashed into US warships including aircraft carriers USS Enterprise, USS Bunker Hill, and USS Franklin. The ship and fleet were also caught in horrors of two powerful typhoons.
Frank took part in shore leave in Tokyo and witnessed the devastation of the air bombardment from our B29 super fortresses. After the surrender of Japan, he was transferred to the USS Lexington for transport back to the USA, at trans-pacific journey that ended in San Francisco.
Back home in San Antonio Frank worked for the National Bank of Commerce. He started as a runner, but over time he was a member of the team that was one of the first in the country to put a bank on an automated computer system. They utilized some of the first IBM main frames. Frank retired to his family’s property in Port Aransas. There Frank oversaw the care of his mother’s beloved little Chapel on the Dunes, the first consecrated church on the island. Frank had many fond memories at the chapel as a child where, along with his brothers and other island children, he would listen to his mother tell Bible stories and then have cake with ice cream up on the chapel dunes. While retired, Frank managed his rental properties and enjoyed the gulf and fishing on his treasured boats El-Jefe and My Toy. He also cared for his horse Satellite, roamed the golf greens with his dear friends Buzz McKinney & Charlie Brown, and visited to his cousins, the "McCullough Girls", in Corpus Christi. Frank was a lover of dogs. They meant everything to him. He would frequently be seen walking, or pulled by, one of his dogs around the island well into his 90s.
Frank survived being caught in Hurricane Celia in 1970. He was stranded in his car on the side of the road between Aransas Pass and Rockport after he left Port Aransas to check on a friend’s property on his way home. After a few more evacuations and near misses, Frank and Vinton stayed in Port Aransas in his house through Hurricane Harvey in 2017. After so many gulf hurricanes and the typhoons of WWII, Frank said that he was “not impressed” with Harvey and went to bed halfway through the storm.
Frank was a sports enthusiast. He competitively participated in the local softball league with fiery grit, and always played to win. Golf was one of the loves of his life, but the Dallas Cowboys were the center of his world.
Frank was able to take care of himself until he was 97 years old, at which time he was not able to renew his driver’s license. With the help of family and friends, Frank managed to live alone at home until right before his 99th birthday, at which time he entered assisted living for the last months of his life. He passed peacefully in his sleep in the afternoon without pain.
Frank is preceded in death by his parents, Aline and H.C. Carter, his brothers Champe and David, his half-sisters Mary Louise and Ella, and his half-brothers Goodwyn and Randolph.
Frank is survived by Vinton & Theresa James IV whom he considered like a son, his grandson Vinton & Hailey James, and granddaughter Tarah & Lawrence Philip. He is survived by his niece Marline & Clint Lawson, and nephew Paul B. Carter and six grandnieces and grandnephews Zachry Brown (and wife Mimi), Aline Copp (and husband Josh), Andrea Brooks (and husband William), Carter Brown, Sarah Owens (and husband Samuel), Marie Mays (and husband Ryan), great grandniece Leigh and Ella and great grandnephews Badger and Henry, and numerous cousins.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to either the Port Aransas Museum at PAPHA, PO Box 677, Port Aransas, TX 78373 or the Ellis Memorial Library at Friends of the Ellis Memorial Library, PO Box 11, Port Aransas, TX 78373.
Frank Joseph Carter
Port Aransas Museum at PAPHA
PO Box 677
Port Aransas, TX 78373
Friends of the Ellis Memorial Library
PO Box 11
Port Aransas, TX 78373
Frank Joseph Carter