On April 5, 2012, Jeffery Blake Carter, age 54, of Versailles, beloved husband, father, and friend passed away peacefully surrounded by friends and family. Jeff was born in Peoria, Ill. on December 11, 1957. His parents, Blake and Helen Carter, current residents of Versailles, gave Jeff the gift of life and fostered a quality upbringing for Jeff and his two brothers. Jeff was the middle son, his eldest brother Mark resides in Burlington, Vt., and his younger brother, Bruce, currently resides in Leawood, Kan. Jeff graduated from Ohio State where he received a Bachelors in Education. He later earned a Masters and a Specialists from the University of Missouri.
Jeff married his best friend Kathleen Ann Mullen in 1981; this July would have marked their 31st anniversary. Kathy is currently a second grade teacher at Versailles’ Elementary.
Jeff and Kathy were the loving parents of three children: Bryan, Gregory, and Michelle. Jeff was the rock of his family, providing guidance, love, and support. As a husband he will be remembered as a best friend. As a father, Jeff will be honored in the memories of his three children and his present and future grandchildren.
In friendship, to know Jeff was to love him. Jeff had a contagiously great outlook on life and enjoyed Cardinal baseball, MU sports, visiting with friends at local wineries, talking on the back patio, and reading books to his grandchildren. He enjoyed the outdoors from hiking the Appalachian Trail to camping with friends and family. Jeff loved to work with his friends on home improvements projects and was never shy about tackling a new challenge.
Professionally, as an educator, Jeff helped reach many young people in the communities of Vandalia, Wellsville-Middletown, and Morgan County, Mo. His special gift of kindness and his strengths of character: integrity, trustworthiness and respectfulness propelled Jeff as an excellent example for growing minds and his successes can be read on the walls of graduates tracing back 30 years. He was extremely respected and admired throughout the state as one of the great superintendents in Missouri.
He served as a mentor and advisor to many educators aspiring to reach his levels of experience. As a leader, Jeff is remembered for his approachability and for developing strong working relationships with his community’s teachers, support staff, and many students. He was always readily available to provide direction and insight, always had a kind word of encouragement. Jeff was extremely proud of the school’s employees and was grateful to their many contributions that led to the school district’s successes. Jeff served as the Morgan County R-II School District’s Superintendent for 13 years. Before his work in Versailles, Jeff was the Superintendent and Principal for the Wellsville-Middletown School District, and was an Elementary Teacher in Vandalia, Mo. Jeff’s other contributions to the community of Morgan County include his leadership of the Youth Group for the United Methodist Church in Versailles. Throughout his many successes in life, Jeff has exemplified faith, perseverance, and community service, all of which will continue to inspire those who knew him for many years to come.
Jeff is survived by his wife Kathleen, his three children: son, Bryan and spouse Crystal, their children, Maya and Lucas of Destin, Fla.; son, Gregory Carter of Versailles and daughter, Michelle Carter of Versailles; his brothers: Mark Carter of Burlington, Vt., and Bruce Carter and Family of Leawood, Kan.; his parents: Blake and Helen Carter of Versailles. Jeff will always be remembered for his amazing smile, bright blue eyes and as an honorable, kind and gentle man. Ours is not to understand the why, but seek to understand the higher purpose for through this we find strength.
A celebration of his life will be held at 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 11, at the Morgan County R-II High School Commons. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to the Versailles United Methodist Church Youth Group or the American Heart Association. Arrangements are under the direction and care of the Kidwell-Garber Funeral Home of Versailles.