Born in Portageville, Mo. to John Andrew and Myrtle (Ezell) Carter, Joe was youngest of nine siblings. He grew up extremely poor and impoverished and his parents could not read or write. As a young child, he developed a deep love of reading and history, and became a high school journalist.
After graduation, he worked on Mississippi riverboats for two years before joining the US Army in 1952. He often stated his role as a Corporal at Ft. Leonardwood, MO was that of “Radar” from M*A*S*H.
After his honorable discharge, he moved west to Colorado and lived with his brother Leo and family to attend college on the GI Bill. There at Pueblo Jr. College, he met his future wife Shirley Raedelle Apple. Joe and Shirley married April 26, 1958 – and had just celebrated 58 years of marriage three months before her sudden death on July 25, 2016.
Joe taught high school for a year in Westcliff, Colo. then taught at Lamar Junior College, Colo. before relocating permanently back to Alamosa, Colo. and Adams State College. Both Joe and Shirley received their bachelor degrees at Adams State, then Joe received his masters degree in 1961. He received his Doctorate from the University of Colorado – Boulder in 1969. He taught history, government and political science at Adams State for over 27 years. Joe wrote numerous books and articles throughout the years – ranging from Zebulon Pike and his travels through the San Luis Valley to Thomas Jefferson. He wrote a history of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Alamosa and also an article on history of the Rosary.
Joe and Shirley had four children. First born was Jonathan Andrew in May 1959, but sadly he died at two days. Margaret Carol was born in 1960, Norma Katherine in 1962 and then Michael Clay in 1964. All three children attended and graduated from Adams State, which made both Joe and Shirley immensely proud.
After retiring in 1993, Joe continued to research and write. He was a historian until the day he died and had a true love of reading and all history – especially of the Southwest and San Luis Valley.
Joe was preceded in death by his parents; eight older brothers and sisters; infant son, Jonathan; and wife, Shirley.
He is survived by his three children, Margaret (Jim) Harmon, Norma Katherine Carter, Michael (Diane) Carter; and seven grandchildren, Jonathan Carter, Katlyn Carter, Erik Carter, Matthew Carter, Joseph Harmon, Meg Harmon and Rebecca Lukkason. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews; and family friend, Millie Miranda. And especially dear to him nephews, Bob Carter and Greg Carter.
Cremation, Montgomery & Steward Crematorium. Rosary, 9:45 a.m. followed by Mass, 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 29, at St. Paul the Apostle Church, 1132 West Oro Grande Dr. in Pueblo West. Followed by interment at 1 p.m. at Roselawn Cemetery. Online condolences, www.MontgomerySteward.com