Well-known Jamaican theater personality George Carter died in Raleigh, North Carolina, last Saturday during the mammoth snowstorm that pounded the U.S. East Coast and which has been blamed for at least 45 deaths.
Carter, popularly known as ‘Mr. C’, would have celebrated his 100th birthday on April 5. He was said to have been making plans for his next visit to Jamaica to mark that milestone as well as his contribution to the arts and the co-operative credit union movement in Jamaica and the Caribbean, in which he played a founding role.
According to the Jamaica Observer, Carter, who had retired to Florida with members of his family, was visiting his eldest son, Dr. Denis Carter, in Raleigh.
During the visit, Carter’s hosts were affected by a power outage and were driving to another location when he became ill in the vehicle. He reached the hospital but did not survive, according to the Observer.
His passing makes him the first known Jamaican casualty of last weekend’s near record-breaking snowstorm, which disrupted life from the Gulf Coast to New England.
Carter, a dedicated member of the Jamaica cultural arts development scene, began contributing to that sector in the 1940s with his association with the Pantomime.
He served the sector until 2001, when he retired as manager and lighting expert for the Little Theatre Movement, and the celebrated National Pantomime, now marking its 75th production.
Carter also served a number of other cultural groups, among them the National Dance Theatre Company.
In 2011, the Jamaican Government invested him with the Order of Distinction (Commander class) for his contribution to theater.
According to a 2011 Jamaica Information Service story, Carter graduated from St. George’s College and then enrolled in several electroplating firms to upgrade his technical skills. He started his own electroplating business during World War II, under the patronage of Father George Blatchford, a scientist who taught at St. George’s.
He told JIS that he taught technical theater at Edna Manley College and was founder of the School of Drama, which was stimulated through the LTM. The school was later transferred in 1976 to the Jamaica Cultural Training Centre, presently Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.
Carter also lectured at the Extra-mural Department, now the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts at the University of the West Indies.