Longtime civic leader and fashion consultant passes

🕐 6 min read

Nancy Marter Carter was a businesswoman and a prolific community volunteer and, as many people said in comments on a Facebook post announcing her death, always the life of the party. She was 65.

Mrs. Carter married her high school sweetheart, Tim Carter, in 1977, and they began a family in 1988 with the birth of their first daughter, Kristen. The birth of their second daughter, Courtney, preceded their move to Fort Worth in 1992. Their third child, Kevin, was born in 1999, the family said in a prepared obituary.

“To understand Nancy’s personality you should know that she drove a red Porsche, and she loved that car,” said neighbor Connie Beck. “From time to time I would see her driving a loaner for a few days and I never asked what happened but I suspect she might have had a few scrapes that needed to be fixed. Pretty soon she would have her red Porsche back and she would be buzzing up and down Rustwood Court looking really cute in her red car.”

Beck wrote a list of memories just after Mrs. Carter died because, “I wanted her children and grandchild to know their Lulu from a friend’s perspective.”

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“Nancy’s love of living and being with her family was as wide and deep as Texas skies. She just seemed to have an extra dose of God-given love and she shared it with her family and friends all the time.” Beck said.

Mrs. Carter and her husband both attended the University of Texas at Austin and were competitive swimmers. They were among those honored in 2016 with the prestigious Frank Erwin Award at the UT Swimming and Diving Reunion Weekend that year.

Mrs. Carter was born in Odessa May 31, 1955, to Oma Nell and Joseph Marter and grew up in the Meyerland area of Houston.

She and Tim Carter attended Bellaire High School where Mrs. Carter was the Lieutenant Colonel of the all-women Drum and Bugle Core, The Bellaire Belles.

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She was a High School All-American with her 200-yard freestyle relay swim team.

After graduation, Mrs. Carter moved to Houston and worked for the Home Insurance Co. as a claims adjuster and later at Aetna Insurance Co. She was then employed by the Baylor College of Medicine and oversaw the negotiation, settlement, and litigation of all malpractice claims pertaining to the physicians at the College. She left full-time work when she had her first child in 1988.

In 2006, Mrs. Carter started her own clothing consulting agency representing the New York clothing line, Etcetera/Carlisle, and she became one of the top 20 consultants in the United States, a testament to her driving spirit and work ethic.

She was a 14-year breast cancer survivor yet participated in three triathlons, the latest two with her three children.

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Tim Carter had a long financial career in Fort Worth and is a former president and CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Tarrant County and currently chairman of the Texas Wesleyan University Board of Trustees.

Mrs. Carter was a prolific volunteer for many nonprofit organizations in Fort Worth. She was co-chair for two years of the Cowtown Ball benefiting the American Cancer Society; co-chair for two years of the Party In Fort Worth benefiting the Mayor’s Promotion Fund; an Executive Board Member of Susan G. Komen Greater Fort Worth, serving on the Race for the Cure Committee for many years; was co-chair of the capital campaign for the downtown Fort Worth Library; Executive Board Member of The Junior League of Fort Worth; Chair of the Fort Worth Ballet Nutcracker Children’s Party; board member of the Ronald McDonald House where she chaired the Tinseltime Station fundraiser for three years; board member of the Van Cliburn Foundation; served on Central Committee for Mayfest; American Heart Association Board Member in Houston and was a featured speaker for Fort Worth’s Go Red For Women’s annual lunch, among many other volunteer activities.

She was a member of First Presbyterian Church, the Soiree Club, Women’s Club (Renaissance Board), and Canwick Club.

In a 2016 interview with the Fort Worth Business Press before they received the Frank Erwin Award, the Carters talked about their swimming experiences at the University of Texas.

Tim Carter was one of the top college recruits in 1973. Nancy Carter was one of the earliest UT women’s swimming lettermen and helped establish the program at the school.

Tim Carter lettered for the Longhorns from 1974-77 and was All-Southwest Conference and a three-time NCAA qualifier. He also qualified for the 1972 Olympic Trials, reaching the semifinals in the 200-meter individual medley.

“That was the Mark Spitz era. It was great to just be a part of that,” he said in the Business Press interview.

Mrs. Carter was a qualifier in a variety of events for the Texas Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women and AIAW from 1975-77. But she thought she had given up swimming as there was no program at UT when she arrived. She came back to the newly formed team under Title IX with coach Pat Patterson.

“I recall going to AIAW in Fort Lauderdale and got up on the blocks for the 50 free, and next to me was a girl with her head shaved. In college. Shaved head,” Mrs. Carter recalled. “Guess she didn’t care much about dating, etc. I thought, girl, if you are trying to psyche me out, you just did.”

The Carters have endowed a scholarship at the McCombs School of Business at UT.

Mrs. Carter told the Business Press in the 2016 interview that everything she learned through swimming also helped her with many of life’s challenges, including her fight against breast cancer.

“The lesson of courage and will to win came in handy,” she said.

Those qualities have affected her family as well.

“She persevered. She was committed,” daughter Kristen Simons said then. “And she continues to impart these qualities into my siblings and me.”

Tim Carter said that although their competitive days in the pool were behind them, the sport continued to have a daily influence.

“Swimming teaches you a lot of things that are connected to life and business,” he said. “You’ve got to keep at it, fighting to succeed. It’s like a long-distance workout.”

In the Facebook posting of Mrs. Carter’s passing, the family said: “We take comfort knowing her final day on this earth was spent doing the things she loved most: feeding the ducks and turtles at the pond with her beloved daughter and granddaughter, sitting around the dinner table with all of her children in town to celebrate her dearest son’s birthday, and reading her favorite children’s books and singing the best lullabies as only Lulu could do as she rocked her granddaughter to sleep.”

Survivors: Husband, Tim; children, Kristen Simons (Preston) and granddaughter Kennedy, Courtney (Aaron), and Kevin; sister Marilyn Neilson (Jim, sons Corey and Kelly); half-brothers, Gene Marter (Arlene) and Joe Marter (Ana) and families; half-sister Keely Frantz (deceased) and family; Tim’s sister Susan Little and family; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

A private service was planned at Greenwood Funeral Home on Sept. 12 for immediate family only.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Joan Katz Cancer Resource Center at Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center, the family said.

Includes material from the family’s prepared obituary and Business Press archives.

Paul Harral
Paul is a lifelong journalist with experience in wire service, newspaper, magazine, local and network television and digital media. He was vice president and editor of the editorial page of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and editor of Fort Worth, Texas magazine before joining the Business Press. What he likes best is writing about people in detail and introducing them to others in the community. Specific areas of passion are homelessness, human trafficking, health care and aerospace.

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