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Johnnie Carter, Sr.

Johnnie Lee Carter, Sr. the much-loved husband, father, grandfather and friend passed away the late evening of July 8th at Kaiser Hospital in Vacaville, California after surviving kidney failure and transplant for 17 years and a more recent battle with dementia.

Johnnie was born October 14, 1943 to Fred and Betty May (Goings) Carter in Dyersburg, Tennessee both of whom preceded him in death along with his older sister Flossie Carter and his nephew Fredrick Lynn Lucas.

Johnnie grew up in rural West Tennessee enjoying a life of hunting, fishing, farming and various outdoor activities. He graduated from Bruce High School in Dyersburg, Tennessee and attended Tennessee State University in Nashville where he earned a BS Degree in Agronomy, June 1965 and was drafted into the U.S. Army the same month. After his Honorable Discharge from the U.S. Army he return to work with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS; formerly Soil Conservation Service) in Nashville, Tennessee.

On October 14, 1967, Johnnie was united in marriage to Dorothy M. (Fuqua) Carter to whom a son, Johnnie L. Carter, Jr. was born. While working for NRCS the family lived in Tennessee, Illinois, New Jersey, Kentucky and California. After settling in Davis, California in 1975, the family took weekend and holiday trips exploring their new state from top to bottom. He often shared, with family and friends, his passion for fishing, jewelry making and was an avid golf enthusiast.

Johnnie was known to be charming, kind, compassionate and generous. He made lasting impressions and connections with colleagues and friends. He often accomplished this through food, entertainment, fellowship and mentorship always with a desire to make a difference in their lives and their families.

While working for NRCS as a Civil Rights Administrator he created many opportunities and encouraged careers for minorities, women and individuals with disabilities that crossed several local, state and federal agencies.

Johnnie is survived by his wife Dorothy Carter, son John Carter, grandson Johnnie Lee Carter III and the special people that were a part of his immediate family and life: Maurita Dunphy, Ray (Dawn) Goings, Willard (Cece) Dixon, Frank (Eunice) Chenault, Dennis (Diana) Nolan, Nancy - his “Angel” kidney donor - (Mike) Marienau, David Branscomb, Stacie Bolden, David James Branscomb and so many Goings/Carter/Fuqua cousins and relatives.

A celebration of his life will be held at a safer time when conditions allow. To share memories and pictures of Johnnie, please sign the online guest book at www.Smith-Funerals.com. More information regarding ‘virtual’ services will be made available in the future.

In leu of flowers or other gifts please consider a contribution in Johnnie Carter’s memory to the Northern California Alzheimer’s Association, Sacramento Office. You can contribute online at www.alz.org/norcal or by mail at 1455 Response Road, Suite 190, Sacramento, CA 95815. They can be reached by phone at 916.930.9080.


Out of the nigh that covers me,

Black as the Pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how straight the gate.

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate:

I am the Captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henly

A note of “Gratitude” from the Carter Family…

“God often sends his blessings through the thoughtful and caring people brought into our lives.”

We wish to acknowledge with deep gratitude the many comforting messages, prayers, thoughts and other expressions of love and caring for our family during this time.

Your condolences are genuinely treasured and deeply appreciated. Thank You.

The Carter Family

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Johnnie Sr., please visit our flower store.


Johnnie, I miss you in our lives. You left such a huge hole that it becomes unimaginably strange to accept the loss. I was brought into the relationship by Willard who loved me enough to share you too. But it was you who embraced me and instantly made me feel like I'd always known you. That's a rare gift to give so openly and with so much love. How lucky I am to have you in my life too. Thank God that I get to keep my memories of all of us together: happy times, laughter, deep conversation, or sharing the complexities of living with transplant. Johnnie, you gave so much to so many. Your life brightened everyone it shone upon. Mine was just one. But I'm so lucky for it. I miss you.

CeCe Dixon Jul 29 2020 12:00 AM

I met Mr and Mrs Carter when their grandson Johnnie Lee III was in my care as his preschool teacher. A long time ago. I believe God brings people together for a reason. Mr. Carter gave me a father figure as I lost my dad a long time ago. He was a charmer, intelligent and humorous man. You had to respect him as he talked to you providing stories or sharing what's going on in the world. He has an awesome son that will continue to do the right things for his family. May the good Lord bring a calmness to the family as the days goes by.Love, Janet Hornage

Jan Jul 24 2020 12:00 AM

Love and prayers to Ms. Dot and Family during this difficult time. I considered Johnny as a great mentor during my time with NRCS. Working under his leadership was the most fulfilling and challenging moments of my life. Thank you for the support and guidance you provided. I will keep your gestures forever. Goodbye, Rest in Peace to a great mentor!

Rosanne Bostwick Jul 22 2020 12:00 AM

Hhhmmm,What to say about the man I called Dad - Im still in shock- I cant believe hes gone - he was my rock - he taught how to be a man through the good times and the bad times- hes been there for me - I love this man - hes my father- when my real father didnt want me - between my house and the Carters house - those were my homes- he had kind words , lots of jokes- he also was hard on me - taught me - even I make mistakes-its ok - be honest- and get back out there! Its been hard losing my mom (hazel) - an now my god dad !!My prayers go out to the Carter family- thank you for be my village Taking me and my family in Thank you Johnnie Jr. For sharing your beautiful father !!!

David Branscomb Jul 22 2020 12:00 AM

Johnnie and I met when we were both attended Tennessee State Univ. in the early 1960's. Little did we know back 9then that our friendship would go on to span 60 years! While we were in college, we were both struggling to make ends meet so we learned early on that by working together and sharing what we had, we could both do better. I remember many times sharing our food and when he was suddenly tossed out of his rented room, I was able to quickly find him a room where I was. Back then, we would share any jobs we could find and also shared 2 summers working with the USDA which had not been available to blacks prior to that time. Right from college he was drafted into the army and, after completing his service, went to work for the Soil Conservation Service in Nashville, TN. Meanwhile, I went to work for Vanderbilt University Research and we lost touch for a while. As Providence would have it, just a few years later, while on business in CA, I heard that's where he and his family were so we reunited and our friendship continued on until his death. Johnnie was a truly exceptional person. He was kind, warm, loving, and generous. He made friends easily and would help anyone he came across. In his positions with the Dept. of Ag., he would mentor his hirees, many of whom later went on to high ranks in the department. In addition to all his other accomplishments, he was a competitive marksman and later became an avid golfer. I miss our frequent, if not daily, conversations. His loss will be felt by many. My brother, rest in peace. I love you.Willard

Willard Jul 21 2020 12:00 AM

Dorothy! I am so very sorry to hear of the passing of Johnnie. Our friendship goes back from high school, college until the present time. No matter the day or hour, please know you have a shoulder to lean on. Even though we are miles apart our friendship will always remain the same. Also, I am sorry to hear of the death of your nephew who passed on the same day as Johnnie. My prayers will continue to be with you and your family. Love you much!

Sarah Nabors and son, Darrell Jul 21 2020 12:00 AM

I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved husband, Johnnie. May God who knows your grief and hears your prayers be with you and bring peace to you.With deepest sympathy,

Vicki Davis Jul 20 2020 12:00 AM

Mike and I are very grateful for Johnnie and Dot's friendship. We have had many good time together. I know Johnnie will be looking down smiling and proud of his grandson's academic and athletic accomplishments. He is so proud of him. We will miss you Johnnie. You are a good friend. Rest in Peace.

Nancy Marienau Jul 20 2020 12:00 AM

To Dot and The Carter Family,Words cannot help ease the grief that you must feel today, but may you find peace in your heart as time goes on its way. May you have memories to turn to for comfort, family to lean on for strength, and friends to turn to for support to help ease your sadness in the loss of you Husband, Father and PaPa. Johnnie was a true friend of mine, a buddy to call on when I needed someone to share an idea or to lift up my day. I knew I could always count on Johnnie. My wife and I will always cherish the hospitality and fun time you and Johnnie shared with us on our visit to Sacramento several summers year ago. May God's Blessing be with you until we meet again!Bennie F. Leflore

Bennie F. Leflore Jul 18 2020 12:00 AM

I had the pleasure of knowing Jonnie Carter for over 40 years, we attended the same university although i was a few years behind Jonnie. During the many years of friendship and time spent at conference sharing moment of joy and time spent during our college experience.You assisted so many individual with there career and you were able to hire so many young minorities student fresh out of college looking for a job. When I had concerns you were always there to provide instruction and assist during hard times.I will mist the phone call that we shared about each health and the conservation we had about our daily lives and our grandchildren were a major part of our discussion and the time we spent just reminiscing about our life experiences, growing up in west Tennessee.

Russel Barmore Jul 18 2020 12:00 AM

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