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MRT Insights

April 11, 2024

James Edgar Carter

It is with deep sorrow, that we share the gentle passing of a beloved father, cherished grandfather, devoted husband, treasured friend, and one of MRT’s esteemed original Co-Founders, James Edgar Carter.
James Carter’s legacy is one of enduring impact, reflected in his numerous achievements and selfless service to others. His absence will be deeply felt by all who were touched by his kindness and generosity.
James is survived by MRT team members Sundae McMillan, daughter, and current Co-Owner, his son Jimmy Carter, a current Executive Recruiter, and Kitte Carter, his wife and current Co-Owner of MRT.

June 3, 1932-February 23, 2024

His Story

James E.  “Jimmy” Carter lived and enjoyed an extraordinary life. He was born June 3, 1932, in Hattiesburg, MS, to the late Reese Carter and Hertha Merritt Carter of New Orleans, LA, and Panama City Beach, FL.   

The son of a successful oil driller and a glamorous but refined Southern Belle, Jimmy had a childhood quite unique for the times and one in which very few children were privileged to enjoy. In 1936, when Jimmy was just four years old, he and his family attended the Texas Centennial Exposition heralded as the first “World’s Fair” held in the Southwest.  In 1937, the family moved to New Orleans where his father kept Room 940 at the Monteleone Hotel for the next 40 years – using it for naps, overnight stays for staff, and out of town guests!  While his father, a ‘wildcatter’, successfully drilled oil at his oil leases, the family moved to Bayou La Fouche where the family lived on a houseboat before moving in to the mainland.

Because his father’s eyesight was failing and he needed Hertha to drive him by car to his various business appointments, Jimmy was sent to Gulf Coast Military Academy in Gulfport MS at the tender age of 8, where he attended grades 3 through 7.  On most Sundays, his parents would come over to visit and take him on picnic outings at a select spot overlooking Biloxi Bay.  During his time at GCMA, he learned to care for ponies, riding them on parade day and competed in the aquatic sports of swimming and diving. In the 8th grade, he attended public schools in Post, Texas when his father relocated there to further develop his oil leases.

In 1946, he started Jefferson Military Academy (JMA), Natchez, MS, where he learned to handle firearms, roamed the woods identifying trees and plants, toured old historical homes, and participated in classes held around an old cistern near campus.  While at JMA, his family once again relocated to Osceola Lodge, Lynn Haven, FL, where, during WWII, Clark Gable was their next-door neighbor while attending flight training school.

 In 1949, Jimmy was invited to accompany his parents as they flew to Cuba to tour the Cuban oil fields. And while there, his horizons were further expanded when his parents took him to see the revue at the Casa de la Musica, a famous Cuban night club in Havana.

In 1950, Jimmy graduated from Jefferson Military Academy. In 1950, he attended the University of Florida with other Lynn Haven students, coming home every 2-3 weekends. 

When he was 16, the senior Carter purchased for Christmas gifts – 7 vehicles for family members – with Jimmy receiving a tan British Ford Anglia. Jimmy used this car to drive home almost every weekend from the University of Florida.  On his travels back to Lynn Haven from school, when approaching the railroad crossing at Hosford, Jimmy shared about being able to look down the tracks and see the German Prisoners of War from a nearby POW prison camp busy at work repairing the railroad!

In 1953, Jimmy joined the Army and was stationed in Schwabisch Hall, Germany, serving during the Korean Conflict.  Upon his return to the States, he attended Florida State University, where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration.   Also, during this time, Carter’s children were born – first, daughter Peggy was born (1953) at Tyndall Air Force Base; then son, Michael, was born (1956) at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.   Later, son James was born (1963) in Panama City, and son Robert (Bob) was born (1965) in Concord, California.

Jimmy began his professional career as a Certified Public Accountant with Arthur Anderson and Company in Houston, TX.  He later moved his family to California where he worked as the Controller for a building developer.  Jimmy spoke about how exciting it was to view, from his front porch, the test flights of rockets being launched at Vandenberg Air Force Base.  These rockets were the precursors to the ATLAS and TITAN rockets, the ATLAS being the one used in America’s first space launch. Also, while in California, his building partner invited him to have lunch one day with some of his friends – his “friends” turned out to be Joe Di Maggio and Marilyn Monroe!

 In 1969, Jimmy bought the three Holiday Inns in Bay County, FL, with State Senators Dempsey Barron, Mallory Horne, and Wig Barrow, and the State Comptroller Fred “Bud” Dickinson, Sr.  In 1975, Jimmy married Kitte Hosford Carter of Tallahassee, gaining a fifth child and ‘bonus’ daughter, Sundae.  As Managing Partner, he and Kitte oversaw all three Bay County locations from 1969 until they were sold in 1978.   

Over the years, boating and water sports were a big part of Jimmy’s life and included many trips to the Intracoastal Waterway, Miami, the Keys, Nassau, the Bahama Islands, Spanish Wells, and Eleuthera.  Diving for lobsters and spearfishing were seasonal pastimes looked forward to each year. On one outing to Spanish Wells, a fishing guide introduced Jimmy and his buddy Jimmy Christo to a “commercial lobster diver” who just happened to be THE Joe Lewis, one of the greatest heavy weight boxers of his generation! Also, on another trip, an up close and personal encounter with a barracuda once caused Jimmy to chuck his diving gear as he frantically swam back to safety.  But there again, diving gear was costly – and so was later retrieved by his diving partner, Christo. 

Jimmy’s love for his alma mater and the Florida State Seminoles was legendary.  A devoted Florida State Seminole fan, Jimmy was active in the Seminole Boosters all his adult life.  In 1972, FSU President Stanley Marshall informed the Boosters if they didn’t immediately reduce the $300,000 deficit in the athletic department’s operating budget, there would be no more FSU football! So, Jimmy, together with Jim Smith and George Langford, developed and implemented a financial plan that eliminated the deficit in the FSU Athletic Department – preserving the football program for generations to come!

 In 1975, he served as Treasurer of the Seminole Boosters and a key fundraiser for all Florida State athletics.  In 1980-81, as President, Jimmy was featured in the Tallahassee Democrat being congratulated by Booster Executive Director Andy Miller for having the most successful fundraising year in Booster history, raising a record two million dollars in athletic contributions from fans and alumni. This extraordinary accomplishment catapulted the Seminole Boosters, still a young organization, into ‘one of the top collegiate athletic fundraising organizations in the country’ (see insert).  The same year, as President, he, Kitte, and their family were able to enjoy travels on the team plane, as well as many memorable occasions hosting and feeding the players and coaches at their home.   

An entrepreneur and successful businessman, upon moving permanently to Tallahassee in 1978, he was involved in several business ventures prior to purchasing Management Recruiters of Tallahassee (MRT).  He was an active participant in state and local politics, and as a staunch supporter of the late U.S. Senator and Florida Governor Lawton Chiles, he made many lifelong friends while serving as Volunteer Coordinator during Chiles’ successful campaign for Governor. In 1991, he joined the Chiles Administration as Controller for the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, retiring in 1998.  He returned to the private sector to serve as Vice President and Treasurer of MRT, retiring in 2019.  

A devoted husband and father, Jimmy was so proud of his wife, children, and grandchildren, and their many accomplishments.  He was never happier than when surrounded by his family and friends during the numerous gatherings and celebrations at the Carter household through the years. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with the Carters were magical times with much laughter, a lengthy and often hilarious gift process, and trees decorated by the grandchildren containing ornaments collected by family and friends through the years. Not to mention, the incredible food prepared by the family chef and other great cooks.  Also, family FSU football weekends with barbecues, picnics, and tailgate parties could be counted on to provide some memorable moments.   

As avid travelers, Jimmy and Kitte visited 30+ countries and numerous national and international cities, with special memories of a honeymoon in Switzerland; multiple trips to France and Italy; recent cruises to the Mediterranean Coast, Norway, and Iceland; and four float plane fly-in Grizzly Bear watches in Homer, Alaska. On their last trip to Alaska, accompanied by their two granddaughters, they were blessed to have a clear view of both Mount Denali and the Northern Lights, a rare treat indeed! Even after those travels, some of Jimmy’s most precious moments were spent in his childhood “hometowns” of New Orleans, LA, and on the waterfront of Lynn Haven, FL.

Most of all, though, Jimmy’s life centered around his wife, Kitte.  He simply loved to be with his “Kitte” – whether a surprise outing to the coast, a spur of the moment trip to see the Christmas lights in London, Paris, and Rome, or just a drive into town – to be with her was always enough for him.

And “enough” was a love story for the ages.   

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