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James Carter, We will miss you!

James DeVore Carter, President of DeVore Carter Communications (DCC), passed away peacefully on January 26, 2024 at the age of 78. Jim spent his final moments as he did for much of the last 57 years—beside his beloved wife. 

On June 24, 1945, Jim was born in the Corona neighborhood of Queens, New York to Harold Emerson Carter and Ophelia DeVore (Carter). Soon after, the Carter family traded the big city for farm living in Livingston Manor in upstate New York. There, Jim had some of his fondest memories as he was entrusted with many duties on the farm. He often recalled the great freedom and peace he felt during those years, especially when riding his horse for hours on end. Jim would go on to live in Englewood, New Jersey—attending Dwight Morrow High School—and Bridgewater, Connecticut, where he graduated from New Milford High School.

Jim was always an avid athlete and deeply passionate about sports. While attending high school in New Jersey and Connecticut, Jim participated on both basketball and track teams. When the time came to attend college in 1964, Jim and three other black teenagers attended Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in an effort to integrate major college athletics below the Mason Dixon line. Jim’s athletic career continued on the basketball team at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia—where he met the love of his life, Gayle Ann Jones. The two married on May 16, 1966, Jim graduated with a BA in Sociology in 1970, and Jim and Gayle had begun building a beautiful life dedicated to each other, their family, and their shared dedication to uplifting and inspiring people through their work. 

Jim and Gayle moved to Teaneck, New Jersey and began to raise their young family while Jim started his executive career as President of Ophelia DeVore Associates—the legendary modeling agency (Grace Del Marco), Charm School (Ophelia DeVore School of Charm), and cosmetics line (Ophelia DeVore Cosmetics) started by his parents in 1946. Simultaneously, Jim served as Managing Editor of the family newspaper, The Columbus Times. In his role at Ophelia DeVore Associates, he worked to ensure that every man, woman, and child who walked through their doors was given the tools, resources, and guidance needed to meet any challenge with confidence and eloquence. 

Jim would carry this ideology with him, even as he left the family business for several years. He worked at Black Media Inc, XEROX, AT&T, The Woodner Company, Verizon, and Charles H. Greenthal Management Group. In many of those roles, he worked to develop leadership skills among staff and enhance customer experience by training confident and competent employees. He eventually returned to Ophelia DeVore Associates, working alongside his mother and wife. 

While many of us hope to use our 70’s to relax and retire, Jim knew that he still had more to offer the world. In 2020, Jim and Gayle started DeVore Carter Communications (DCC)—the philosophical extension of Ophelia DeVore Associates. Jim brought his passion for leadership development and coaching to DCC, where they conducted training in professional and personal development and facilitated board meetings for organizations, including the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Jumuiya Research Institute (San Francisco), and BUILT (Blacks United In Legal Technology). In 2023, Jim was instrumental in finalizing the recognition of his mother, Ophelia DeVore, at the Paris Spring Runway Show of Christian Dior, one of the most influential fashion brands in the world. Dior celebrated Ophelia DeVore and other Black and mixed-race women who broke racial barriers.

Throughout his life, Jim had the power to remind you of your worth and make sure you never forgot it. He was instrumental in the encouragement and advancement of countless people whose lives he touched—whether you met him through his work or simply ran into him on the street. He was commanding and captivating, but he was incredibly kind and caring to his loved ones and strangers alike. Jim was perpetually handsome (he even had his own modeling career), enjoyed road trips, and was a fervent fan of most sports—especially basketball and football. But above all, he loved spending time with his family and adored his nine grandchildren. His legacy will live on through each of them, and he will be remembered for a lifetime of love, leadership, and charisma. 

Jim is survived by his beloved wife of 57 years, Gayle Ann Jones Carter; children LaJuan Marie Carter, Lori Katherine Harris, and James DeVore Carter II; grandchildren Loren Dent, Kobi Dent, and Avery Dent (mother LaJuan), Trevor Harris, Dana Harris, and Jaimee Harris (mother Lori), Milan Taylor, Emerson Carter, and Riley Carter (father James II); siblings Carol Gertjegerdes (spouse Helmut and children Petra, Mark, Helmut Jr., and Tanya), Marie Moore, Michael Carter (children Shawn and Karis), and Tiffani Carter; as well as many extended family members and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Harold Emerson Carter and Ophelia DeVore, and his sister Cheryl Parks.