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25 Broad Street
Hamilton, NY 13346
Phone: 315-824-2417
Fax: 315-825-3526
John Carter

John Ross Carter

June 22, 1938 - March 28, 2020
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John Ross Carter, 81, of University Ave., Hamilton, NY passed away Saturday, March 28, 2020 at his home, surrounded by his loving family.
He was born June 22, 1938 in Baytown, TX, to Robert L. and Virginia Cooke Carter. In 1956 he graduated from Robert E. Lee High School and went on to Baylor University where he received his BA in 1960. That same year he married his high school sweetheart, Sandra McNeill, and traveled to Louisville, KY, where he received a BD from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1963. In the fall of that year they traveled to the UK where John studied at Kings College and the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and received the MTh degree in 1965. Seven years later John received his PhD from Harvard University having spent three of those years in Sri Lanka on a Fulbright-Hays Scholarship researching his thesis topic dealing with the Theravada Buddhist Tradition.
John was the Professor of the Study of the Great Religions of the World, Professor of Philosophy & Religion, and Director of Chapel House, Emeritus at Colgate University. During his distinguished teaching career he received several awards and distinctions including the DLitt (Honoris Causa) from Kelaniya University in 1999 and the Colgate Senior Class of 2012 award. Research continued and broadened as John became a visiting research associate at the following institutions: in Shinto Studies at Kokugakuin University, Tokyo, in 1973, as well as at the division of Cultural Anthropology at the National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, in 1985-86; in Mahayana Buddhist Studies at Ryukoku University, Kyoto, in 1985-85 and at Otani University, Kyoto in 1993. That same year, 1993, he was honored to be one of the presenters at the Wijesekera Memorial Oration in Colombo.
John was a loving and supportive family man who made family gatherings a priority. He enjoyed the outdoors, fishing, camping and canoeing. Besides the outdoor activities, scholar that he was, he also enjoyed the many years he spent researching records of the early Colgate graduates who became missionaries to various locations in Asia.
John was a member of the First Baptist Church in Hamilton. He was a former Boy Scout who proudly attained the rank of Eagle Scout.
Surviving are his wife, Sandra; his children, Christopher John (Saori Hojo) Carter of Tokyo, Japan; Mary Elizabeth (Andrew) Strong of Hamilton, NY; grandchildren, Iori and Ian Carter, Samuel and Eve Strong; many beloved nieces, nephews and cousins in Texas. He was predeceased by a brother, Robert Louis Carter; and sisters, Alice Rose Becker and Mary Nan Redmond.
A Memorial Service will be held at the Colgate Chapel at a later date and time to be announced.
Interment will be in the Colgate Cemetery.
Contributions in his memory may be made to any one of the following charities: (1) UNICEF, 125 Maiden Lane, New York, NY 10038; (2) Doctors Without Borders at; (3) American Friends Service Committee, AFSC Development 1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia, PA 19102; or (4) Oxfam America. Attn: Donor Services, 226 Causeway St., Boston, MA 02114-2206
Arrangements have been entrusted to Burgess & Tedesco Funeral Home, 25 Broad St., Hamilton, NY.
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Service Details

  • Memorial Service

    Colgate University Chapel
    25 Alumni Dr.
    Hamilton, NY 13346
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    To be announced at a later date
  • Interment

    Colgate University Cemetery
    Oak Drive
    HAMILTON, NY 13346
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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1 tree has been planted in memory of John Ross Carter

Richard C Heck

Posted at 10:36am
John was a pillar of thoughtful caring in any community of which he was a part. A smile often accompanied his soft but well-founded questions that made us think more deeply about what we could see on the surface.
John is missed. Condolences to his family. No one is ever ready to lose a loved one, no matter what preparation has been made.
Comfort will come, hope and love persist. May you find the peace needed to persist.

Amir Ghannad

Posted at 02:07pm
I was saddened to hear the news of Professor Carter's passing today. I had the pleasure of meeting Prof. Carter when my son, Naveed, attended Colgate University and was so fortunate to have not only taken classes with Prof. Carter but to have collaborated with him in a small way in the publishing of one of his books and having developed a relationship where my son felt quite comfortable dropping by Prof. and Mrs. Carter's home and have dinner and enjoy a conversation.
It never seized to amazed me, at every encounter and in every one of the many conversations I had with my son where Prof. Carter's name was mentioned, that such an accomplished scholar and a giant in his field would also be so humble and friendly.
Just when I thought my respect and admiration for Prof. Carter couldn't go any higher, he surprised me yet again on my son's last day at Colgate University. After graduation, a number of family members and I were helping my son pack his belongings and clean up his residence when Prof. Carter stopped by, not because he was just taking a walk or was in the area but because he was thoughtful and kind enough to intentionally make the trip to say goodbye to my son who was only one of thousands or people who had and still has great admiration for him.
That is the gentleman that I will always remember Prof. Carter by and I am confident that those who were blessed to cross paths with him are better off because of it and there is no doubt in my mind that the depth of the impact he has made in this world is beyond our ability to fathom. May he rest in peace and I offer Mrs. Carter and the rest of the family my deepest condolences.
In Sympathy,
Amir Ghannad

Dorenda Koehl

Posted at 01:44pm
So very sorry to learn of Mr.Carters passing. My thoughts of him -- When worked at Colgate a few years ago. What a Kind Man he was-- he brought to me a "Wall-Hanging" that he had brought back with him (not sure from where but I still have it)
My thoughts are with you all at this time.! REST IN PEACE MR. CARTER
May God be with you all. Fondly, Dorenda (Davis) Lamb (KOEHL)

Dianne Barrett Martinez

Posted at 01:13pm
My condolences to John’s family. We were good friends in school. He was so smart and reading about his life it is a wonder how much he achieved and how much he shared with the world. Rest In Peace John. I am proud I knew you.

Darryl Simcoe & Patricia Aldaco

Posted at 08:38pm
Rest in peace...
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