Jimmie Dick Carter, 91, died at home in Rolling Fork, Mississippi, on Tuesday, June 11. He was born in Vicksburg on May 5, 1928 to Yolande and Wallace Carter, the middle son of five children. He was educated in the Rolling Fork public schools and graduated from Rolling Fork High School in 1946 and from Mississippi State University in 1950 with a degree in agriculture. He was an Eagle Scout, a member of Sigma Chi fraternity, and served in the U. S. Army Reserve. He married his childhood sweetheart and spouse of 68 years, Leta Boyce Wells, on September 1, 1950. He was a devoted member of First Baptist Church in Rolling Fork, where he served many years as a deacon and eventually as a Lifetime Deacon.
Deeply rooted in Mississippi agriculture, he was a sixth generation descendent of Nehemiah Carter who came to the Natchez District in the 1760s, settling in what is now Wilkinson County, and, through his mother, a fifth generation descendent of Robert Austin Clark who migrated by flatboat from Kentucky in the early 1820s, settling in western Hinds County. He was called to farm at the age of 15 when his father died in 1943. Instead of leasing the home place, his mother chose to continue operating the farm with her sons. He arranged to schedule most of his classes for mornings so he could assist with the farming operations in the afternoons. He and his brothers cooperatively formed a partnership, Carter Brothers Farms, and through hard work and diligence prospered.
A passionate advocate for agriculture and for Mississippi State University, he was involved in management and operation of Carter Brothers Farms for 75 years. In 2001 he was the Mississippi State University National Alumnus of the Year, and in 1997 he was named Man of the Year in Mid-South Agriculture for Mississippi by Progressive Farmer magazine. He was a member of Sharkey-Issaquena Consolidated School Board for over 50 years. He served as central Mississippi vice president for Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, and he was president and vice president of the Delta Council and a charter member and trustee of the Delta Wildlife Foundation. He held offices or served on the boards of the National Cotton Council, Southern Farm Bureau, Federal Land Bank of South Mississippi, Delta Pride Catfish Processors, Staple Cotton Cooperative Association, and Twin County Electric Power Association.
He was a patient, generous, and loving husband and father. He is survived by his wife, Leta, his children Clark Carter (Emily) and Martha Abney (John) of Rolling Fork, Hollis Carter (Ann) of Little Rock, Arkansas, Richard Carter (Sharon) of Valdosta, Georgia, and Rebecca Tate (Bennie) of Hammond, Louisiana; his grandchildren Carter Abney (Beth), Becky Carter, Reid Carter, Robert Carter, and Steven Carter, Sydney Gardner (Christian), Beth Harlow (Lawson), Mattie Mize (Bennett), and Lelia Katherine Tate; his great grandchildren Mary Martha Abney, John Christian Gardner, and Wells Gardner. He was a devoted uncle and cousin to generations of Balls, Beerys, Carters, Clarks, Gathings, Maynes, Raineys, Smiths, Weidigs, Wells, and Woods. He is preceded in death by his brothers Wallace and Laurance, sisters Laura Nell Carter Harkey and Yolande Carter Mayne, and grandsons Nathan Tate and James Carter III.
Visitation and services will be held Monday, June 17, at First Baptist Church of Rolling Fork. Visitation begins at 9 AM followed by the service at 11 AM. Pallbearers are Carter Abney, Reid Carter, Robert Carter, Steven Carter, Christian Gardner, Rev. Lawson Harlow, and Bennett Mize. Honorary pallbearers are Ike Collins, Frank Corban, Gary Hays, Joe Hicks, Ed Joe, Rev. Reese Kyzar, Roosevelt Lindsey, Merlin Richardson, Drick Rodgers, Thomas Scott, Joseph “Mickey” Thomas, James Washington, Virgil Wells, and the Men’s Sunday School Class and Deacons of First Baptist Church of Rolling Fork.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made to First Baptist Church of Rolling Fork (205 S. 2nd St., Rolling Fork, MS 39159) or through the Mississippi State University Foundation and designated for the James Richard “Jimmie Dick” Carter Scholarship (MSU Foundation Inc., P. O. Box 6149, Mississippi State, MS 39762 or online at www.msufoundation.com).
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