Friends and family of Alva C. Carter Sr. remembered him as generous, honorable and a hard worker.
“He was a big man with a big heart,” said Mary Helen Carter, his wife of 50 years.
The Portales businessman and agriculture producer died in a single-vehicle accident Thursday morning at age 68. He was president of the Eastern New Mexico University Board of Regents.
Mary Helen said her husband was going to their new dairy across the Texas border.
Carter started out as a school teacher. His first teaching job was a driver’s education class at Portales Junior High School in 1966. He served as assistant principal at Portales High School from 1974 until his 1985 retirement.
Emmitt Clayton chose Carter to be his assistant principal.
“He was just the type of person that people could respect,” Clayton said, adding that Carter was honorable and took the initiative to do whatever was necessary.
After retirement, Carter continued his existing custom combine business, farmed, ran dairies and owned a car dealership.
Carter returned to education in 2003 when Gov. Bill Richardson appointed him to the ENMU Board of Regents.
“His lifelong dedication to education and his commitment to Eastern New Mexico University and the surrounding community will be greatly missed,” Richardson said in a news release.
Carter served as a regent with longtime friend Marshall Stinnett of Portales, who described Carter as having modest beginnings from a farming family in San Jon, 20 miles east of Tucumcari.
“For a poor boy from San Jon, he made quite a mark,” Stinnett said.
Stinnett said his friend did amazing things and was a community leader and hard worker.
Alva Sr. was a family man who made an impression on his two sons.
Alan Carter, the younger son, said his father gave of himself and believed in the community.
“From my point of view, I can always look back and remember my dad was my hero,” Alan said.
As for generosity, Bob Carter said his brother would give people the shirt off his back, even though he might tell them how to wear it.
Faith was also an important part of Alva Sr.’s life. Mary Helen said her husband took a long time to become a Christian, but then gave it 110 percent, as was his practice in everything.
According to a state police news release, Carter was traveling east on N.M. 202 when his 2005 Dodge Magnum ran off the road for unknown reasons. The vehicle hit a tree and landed upside down.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday at Greyhound Arena.