Friday, November 30, 2018

Farewell Bob Carter, July 15, 1944 - November 7, 2018

This bit of sad news made it to the in-box of this BHOSA blog. Since there are so many in Bishop Hill that fondly remember Bob, his obituary, provided by his friend, Cain Burdeau, is shared for you here.
Bob died on Nov. 7 in a town in southern Italy. His death was caused by a stroke. He was in Puglia for one of his annual visits to longtime friend, Bob Burdeau.     

He was born in Los Angeles on July 15, 1944 and was raised a Quaker. He grew up on his family's farm in Washington and at a young age was one of the first locals to buy a hay baler, testing out his precocious entrepreneurial skills. Bob spent a year of high school in Guatemala and was also in student-led political protests there.

One of his many accomplishments was writing the alma mater of Battle Ground High School to his mother's musical composition. As a young man, he worked as a political intern in Washington, D.C. As a Quaker, he was a conscientious objector.

He journeyed to Alaska by boat and became the sole member of the East Addington Trading Company. He sold hard-to-come-by items to residents up and down the Alaskan panhandle, announcing his arrival at harbors in his boat by firing off cannons.

The sea remained a constant in his life. He built a sailboat, the Kelly Bogus, at Wyman's Marina in Anacortes. For more than 20 years, he worked on fishing boats and tenders, much of the time as a captain. He built a house on Gravina Island, near Ketchikan, and a house in Germany, where he lived in the off-season of fishing, with his then-wife and children.

Later, he worked as a tow boat and barge traffic controller on the upper Mississippi for Ingram Barge Co. while living in Bishop Hill, Illinois, a Swedish settlement of religious pilgrims.

With the death of his beloved younger brother, Richard Carter, Bob turned to the Camino di Santiago in Spain for solace, beginning many years of arduous walking through Spain. In his final year, he walked through Bosnia, Macedonia and Albania. His final walking trip, in Assisi, Italy, was with dear friends from Anacortes, Washington.

He was intensely spiritual throughout his life and liked to attend religious ceremonies wherever he went, regardless of denomination. He owned few possessions, preferred a jacket rather than a pillow to rest his head on and routinely gave away his belongings. In Bosnia, he gave his sleeping bag and bedroll to a Syrian refugee he met in a park.

In his final years, he cultivated a new passion: film-making. A strange encounter he had in the 1970s with a mysterious Italian from Puglia became the inspiration for "Nasumice", a feature-length movie he made with Caleb Burdeau, the director. The movie was premiered at the Sarajevo Film Festival in August, with Bob in attendance. Bob was working on the script for a new film based on his experiences with the East Addington Trading Company when he died.

He is survived by his children, Oliver Carter and Iola Carter of Germany; his step-daughter Mira Kovacova of New York City; one grandchild; one brother, Roger Carter; and a host of friends throughout Italy, Germany, Washington state, Illinois and many other places he lived in and traveled.