OTTUMWA — Harry M. Carter, 92, of Ottumwa, died May 9, 2014, at Hospice House in Ottumwa.
He was born January 17, 1922, in West Union to Willie and Lilly Kohler Carter. He married Jeannette Jansen of Farmington, Iowa, who was teaching in Ottumwa at the time.
A graduate of West Union High School and Iowa State Teachers College, he entered into the service of his country in December 1942. He had completed his four-year degree in three and one-third years by attending full time and carrying additional hours.
He served as an Aviation Student Cadet at the University of Tennessee and while there organized and directed both a military band which performed daily closing ceremonies for the post and a jazz band to provide entertainment for the post. When the program at the university was disbanded, he was reassigned to the 78th Infantry Band. At the time the Division was in final preparation for shipment overseas. The band members were classed as basic rifleman in performance of their guard duties. The band was reorganized at the conclusion of conflict and became part of the Berlin occupation troops performing ceremonial events and concerts. Tech Sgt. Harry Carter was appointed director of this band. Decorations and citations included two Overseas Service Bars – European – African – Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon with three Bronze Battle Stars – American Campaign Medal – Good Conduct Medal – World War II Victory Medal.
After serving in World War II, he became a band director in Ida Grove, Iowa. He left his position there to open a music store in Ottumwa in 1948 as a partner of Milo Sorden, who operated a store in Washington, Iowa.
The lives of Jeannette and Harry were nearly perfect. Why? Because of strong, parental upbringing and musical interest. This made for wonderful teamwork that contributed to daily work assignments and activities. Shortly after they were married, they assumed the co-presidency of the Ottumwa Civic Music Association. This became a 10-year term, and they continued to serve as honorary historians. A new endeavor was to serve as presidents of and founding members of the original Ottumwa Area Arts Council. Thirty years this time was their legacy.