Marine sergeant. World War II veteran. Purple Heart recipient.
All of these words can be used to describe Winton Carter, an amazing Jacksonville-area hero.
Carter, News4JAX anchor Joy Purdy’s neighbor in Clay County, was first introduced to the News4JAX family when he was turning 100 years old.
Carter was laid to rest Thursday at Jacksonville Memory Gardens in Orange Park, after passing away Thanksgiving morning. He was 102.
Carter’s daughter presented the folded flag atop her father’s casket. She said her father didn’t want a lot of fuss at his funeral.
But, she said, how could she not give the retired Marine Corps master sergeant full honors at his burial?
When News4JAX first sat down with Carter in 2019, he told both horrific and harrowing tales of World War II, including being there for the raising of the American flag at Iwo Jima.
“They had gotten in a bunch of cigarettes, and I was going down to get a case of them for my people, and someone says, ‘Hey look, they’re raising a flag.’ We turned around and looked and I could see them, see the flag going up, but I wasn’t there, you know, in that fancy picture they have. It means more to me now than it did then,” Carter recalled in 2019.
On his 100th birthday, Carter was honored at the third annual Veterans Appreciation Day in Clay County.
When he turned 101, Carter was still driving!
At 102, morning breakfasts with three old military buddies began to wane.
With the group losing veteran Art Thomas back in September, both veterans Clifford Plant and Ron Wallace made sure they were there for Carter’s send off.
Remembering a war hero, fun neighbor, amazing father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather --
and, a great friend.
Also, attending Carter’s funeral -- the local branch of the Patriot Guard Riders, a volunteer motorcycle group, which stands throughout the burial with the family of fallen military heroes like Mr. Carter, first responders and honorably discharged veterans.