Maxwell Glen Carter of Redmond, Washington, age 95, peacefully passed away April 7th, 2023, of natural causes, surrounded by family and loved ones at his home of 22 years.
Max could be described as a natural born sailor. From childhood sailor suits, to christening the bow of his father’s sailboat the “Lil Bit” , a Tahiti Ketch custom built in Friday Harbor, by his father “Mac”, to volunteering for the US Navy in high school, to joining the UW Crew in college; to riding a freighter steam ship to China as a UW exchange student; to being a Lieutenant in the US Naval reserve; to building boats with his sons and father; to innumerous boating adventures with his wife Mary, family of eight children and friends. Boating was a source of strength and revitalization. And in essence part of his DNA. Always paramount was his love for family, friends, teaching, singing, artistic endeavors, sailing and “messing about in boats,” preferably in the San Juan Islands.
Some of Max’s childhood sailing adventures included a trip on the “Lil Bit” up into Alaska’s Inside Passage with his father “Mac,” Launor McKinley Carter, mother “Honey”, June Florence (Maxwell) Carter and sister “Candy,” Carolyn (Ardell) Barnes. During the Depression, the family relocated temporarily from their Laurelhurst home in Seattle to his father’s childhood home at Carter’s Beach in Friday Harbor. Here Max fostered his love of boating and fishing, as well as his relationship with his grandparents: L.B. and Emma Wright Carter who were early settlers and entrepreneurs in the San Juan Islands in the late 1800’s. (Carter’s Market, Carter’s Wharf, Carter’s Drive and Carter’s Beach). Max was very active in the San Juan Island Community, he worked at the Market and the Wharf Cannery during the summers. As an ever-ready boatman, Max proved himself mightily seaworthy at the tender age of 7, regularly rowing himself to class in both first and second grade, from his home at the Carter Family’s cabin on Carter’s Beach. His teacher at the time was his mother June’s sister: Susan Maxwell.
During Max’s middle school years, the family moved back to Laurelhurst, where he met his lifelong friend, and partner in adventures: Bill Knapp. During this time Max also discovered he had a natural singing voice with “perfect pitch” which led to him also taking up the violin and playing for the Roosevelt High School orchestra. In Max’s senior year he enrolled in the US Navy, where he spent a year of service in sonar acoustics study for US Navy submarines, based in San Diego. The following year the war had ended and Max went on to attend the University of Washington (UW ). He joined the Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity, was a member of the Men’s Rowing Crew, (lightweight), and became a featured vocalist in live musical stage performances for the UW Alumni Club. On one fortuitous fraternity blind date, Max met the love of his life:
Mary Genevieve Lemieux of Bainbridge Island, who soon was to become his wife and life partner.
As a third year student at the UW, he and his Bill Knapp journeyed to China, for an exchange college program sponsored by Yale University which also led them to teaching positions in China as well. Max was impressed by the sense of reverence and awe his Asian students held for education, which in turn inspired him to go on and choose a career in teaching. That next year he returned to the USA to finish his degree in Education at the UW.
The summer after their graduation, in 1951, Mary and Max were married on Bainbridge Island. Together they raised eight children; Kathleen Carter, William Carter, John (Karen) Carter, Pamela Jo Carter (John Adams), Trina (Marc) LaRoche, Wendy (Mark) Stearns, Robin (Bradley) Gilbertson and Joan (Kenneth) Kirchoff.
Max taught Industrial Arts classes at Shoreline High School. He flourished as a teacher and during that time was inspired to design a contemporary home, including the furniture and landscaping in Richmond Beach, where he and Mary raised their family. After many years as an Industrial Arts teacher, Max earned an advanced degree in School Administration from the UW and shortly thereafter was promoted to Student Counselor and then Vice Principal at Shoreline High School. During this time Max also served in the US Naval Reserves, achieving the rank of Lieutenant. His father, “Mac” Carter was a Commander in the Philippines for the US Navy in WW2.
After retiring from the Shoreline School District in 1981, Max and Mary spent a few years reflecting and researching ways to continue sharing their accumulated and well-regarded knowledge in teaching and education. In 1984, Max and Mary decided to open a private tutoring center: “Achieve Educational Services”, a supplemental learning center offering individualized instruction. This was a progressive, and greatly needed resource in the community. Both Max and Mary flourished using their professional and enthusiastic approach to encourage students
of all levels. Eventually, “Achieve” evolved into an accredited K-12 school, that later grew into a full-time school helping students of all backgrounds. Max and Mary sold “Achieve” in the early 1990’s and retired for the second time. They continued their boating adventures in the San Juan Islands and all around the Salish Sea with family and friends in a variety of both sail and power boats.
Max was a devoted husband and father. He and Mary worked together all their 72 years of marriage to set an example and guide their eight children and their spouses, thirteen grandchildren, and five great grandchildren through life. He will be greatly missed by his family, and so many people who had the pleasure and privilege to have known him. He was preceded in death by his parents Launor McKinley Carter, June Florence (Maxwell) Carter and sister Carolyn (Ardell) Barnes. A private memorial was held during the summer of 2023.
Marker’s for Max & Mary Carter, along with Max’s parents: Mac & June Carter, and sister Candy & Ardell Barnes have been placed at the Carter Family Plot at San Juan County Valley Cemetery in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island WA.