CARTER, JAY, 86
Jay Carter died peacefully June 12, 2013, his wife at his side. Born as James John Egli in St. Louis, Missouri, he took the name Jay Carter when he began his professional career road-racing sports and formula cars.
Jay grew up in St. Louis, where his four grandparents settled in 1875 after profound disagreement in Germany with Chancellor Bismarck's religious persecution of civilians. Strongly influenced by his paternal grandfather, Graf (count) Eglein Von Falkenberg, Jay learned duty, honor, self-reliance, responsibility, and to stand up for what's right. Punishment for childish misdeeds was a duel with his grandfather using broomsticks; in high school Jay was city saber-fencing champion. He made his spending money as a boy by shooting rats at the city dump, a skill he expanded into trick shooting.
Jay enlisted in the Navy during World War II when he turned 17, earned two sharp-shooting medals, and served as medic for Marines landing April 1, 1945, on Okinawa. Unscathed in the fierce weeks-long combat, even when he performed delicate surgery under fire on a Marine whose hand was caught in a Japanese tank tread, he was twice wounded coming home by kamikaze dive bombers.
After leaving the Navy, he fell in love with sports cars. He won the Sports Car Club of America Mid-West Regional sports car championship, secured a sponsor for a year's racing in Europe, and in 1954 began an 11-year successful professional roadracing career. In retirement in California he began a life-long study of creative writing. In 2003 he published Potpourri, a collection of his short stories and poems and moved to Gainesville.
Qualities that contributed to his racing success were his high degree of self control and determination together with his competitive spirit, strategic thinking, quick reflexes, wide peripheral vision, sense of timing, and sensitivity to the feel of his car. To learn from champions and to note a weakness of a competitor, he patiently observed how other drivers maneuvered the circuit. He was a dramatic entertainer in public, quick in repartee, able to put a person in his place or charm a lady. His talents made him a celebrity in Europe but, when the racing season ended, he was glad to return to the States and be anonymous.
Jay's proudest accomplishment was winning his fight for justice against the IRS, which underestimated his determined, bulldog tenacity when they challenged his income tax return. After years of harassment and legal expense, he won in an appellate court ruling, a precedent to help others with similar IRS problems.
Jay loved to cook, tell and write jokes and stories, design houses and automobiles, and share what he knew. He enjoyed travel, gourmet dining and fine wine, and making a woman smile. He appreciated responsive cars that handled well, classical music and art, jazz and the blues, limericks and bawdy songs. He treasured honesty, accurate choice of words, and precision in engineering and workmanship.
A perceptive observer and self-educated from his extensive reading, broad interests, and steel-trap memory, he was an encyclopedia of information on his interests, including world history and religions, old movies, and a surprising number of other subjects. Jay could see through a problem to the root cause, so he was an effective counselor, helping many to see solutions to their problems. Stubbornly self-reliant and an independent thinker, he decided for himself what was right. He was a loyal and supportive husband to Joan Watts Anderson Carter, whom he married in 1965 and who survives him with step-children in California, Carol Susan Anderson and John H. Anderson.
No services are planned.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Jay's memory may be made to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, P.O. Box, Albert Lea, MN 56007-8015 or to the Salvation Army.
Published in Gainesville Sun from June 23 to June 24, 2013