Transforming science education through research-driven innovation

Remembering Jack L. Carter

March 26, 2020

Dear friends,

I am deeply saddened to share the news that BSCS’s third executive director, Jack Carter, passed away on March 10, 2020. Even at 91 years old, he continued to share his vibrant spirit and close friendship with our BSCS community.

Jack visited our office in Colorado Springs as often as he could, and remained one of our most devoted supporters. During a visit in 2018, as BSCS was celebrating our 60th anniversary, Jack reminisced about his role in our story. He recalled how in our earlier days, there were individuals who believed BSCS’s time was limited–that once we achieved our founding purpose of creating better high school biology textbooks, we would close up shop. But Jack was always a BSCS believer. And he agreed to serve as our executive director from 1982-1985, when BSCS’s future looked uncertain, to ensure our story would continue.

We are grateful for Jack’s leadership, and will continue advancing our mission to make him proud.

I personally am thankful for the conversations Jack and I shared during my time as BSCS’s executive director. Jack truly embodied the BSCS spirit, and our community will miss him dearly. His daughter, Diane, has given us permission to share his obituary. We offer our deepest sympathies for Jack’s family.


Daniel C. Edelson
BSCS Executive Director

Jack L. Carter’s Obituary

It is with great sadness that the family of Jack Lee Carter announces his death after a brief illness, on March 10, 2020 at the age of 91 years. He was born in Kansas City, Kansas on January 23, 1929.

Jack attended Baker University in Baldwin, Kansas in 1946-1947 and continued his undergraduate work at Kansas State Teacher’s College (now Emporia State University) in Emporia, Kansas, where he received a Bachelor’s degree, and in 1954, his Master’s Degree.

He went on to earn a Ph.D in Botany at the University of Iowa in 1960 and began his teaching career at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. After several years there he and his young family returned to Emporia, where he taught at Emporia State until 1965.

From there the family moved to Boulder, Colorado where he worked in curriculum design with the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study for two years before moving to Colorado College to accept a professorship at the Colorado College in Colorado Springs. He would remain there for 22 years where the herbarium was later named in his honor. During the summer breaks and on sabbaticals he continued working with other biologists from around the United States and the world to develop biology curricula for high school teachers and students.

In retirement in Silver City, New Mexico he continued working with students at Western State University, traveling statewide to survey and collect the native plants of New Mexico. With the help of other botanists and young botany students he published Trees and Shrubs of Colorado, Trees and Shrubs of New Mexico, and Common Southwestern Native Plants. He was a great mentor, supporter, and friend to those committed to botany and environmental sciences. He was always a teacher and always a learner.

Jack will be lovingly remembered by his wife Martha of 68 years, and his three children and their spouses: Lizbeth Diane Carter and John E. Elmblad, John David Carter, and Laura Lee Carter Rosencrans and Mike Rosencrans, his two grandchildren Justine Dune Carter and Hailey Ann Carter, his extended family, and so many dear friends.

Memorial donations should be made in memory of Jack L. Carter to the Colorado Native Plant Society (Mission Fund), PO Box 200, Ft. Collins, CO 80522 or Native Plant Society of New Mexico (Carter Fund), PO Box 35388, Albuquerque, NM 87176.