February 13, 1940 to January 26, 2019

A born teacher

Bennie Carter, Jr—a man whose life revolved around teaching and family—passed away of congestive heart failure at Loyola Hospital, in Maywood, IL,  on Tuesday, January 26, his beloved wife of 46 years, Josie, daughter Ericka, and grandson Xavier by his side. He was seventy-eight.

A resident of Forest Park, IL, Bennie had a passion for teaching, sports, and fundraising for his alma mater, West Virginia State University. A member of the Chicago Board of Education for 34 years, he taught high-school biology, his profession until he retired in 2005. He also taught classes to inmates at Cook County Jail for ten years.

A love of learning

Bennie’s love of learning was instilled in his only child, Ericka, who says her dad “believed in education and encouraged me to get my degrees. He supported me in whatever I did.”

One of three sons, Bennie was born February 13, 1940, in St. Petersburg, FL, to Bennie Carter Sr. and Alice Griffin Carter. He and his brothers, Clarence and Ronald, grew up in a loving, rambunctious family in the town where Bennie came into the world. He later said that St. Petersburg was “the best city ever.”

After graduating from Gibbs High School, he attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and West Virginia State University, in Charleston, going on to earn a “Master’s in Education plus 40 hours,” as he liked to brag, from Governors State University in Chicago.

After joining the U.S. Army, he spent two years as a special intelligence officer, including one year in Frankfurt, Germany. Bennie married the girl of his dreams, Josie, on April 26, 1973.

Adored sports

A sport’s enthusiast, he adored baseball, especially the Chicago Cubs, as well as Chicago Bears football, and Bulls basketball. Game shows and Judge Judy comprised his other TV watching.  Surprisingly, Josie got Bennie hooked on The Young and the Restless, and he was glued to the soap opera from then on.

He favored soul music, and Anita Baker and Natalie Cole were among his favorite songstresses. Bennie liked to play the lottery and bet on the ponies when he attended annual West Virginia State University fund-raisers at the racetrack with his alums.

Honesty and integrity

Daughter Ericka described her dad, who stood 6-foot-1, as “an amazing father and provider who lived his life with honesty and integrity.” They spoke every day. “We kept up our tradition of going to the movies every single Saturday,” she said, a ritual they had begun when Ericka was a child.

Bennie favorite charity was St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and he donated every month.

Bennie is survived by his wife, Josie Carter and daughter, Ericka Carter of Oak Park, IL; grandson, Xavier Scott; nieces Alesha Fallon and Donna Carter; nephew Eric Carter; and Bennie’s brother, Clarence Carter. Ronald Carter preceded Bennie in death.

A memorial service is planned for February 23, 2019, from 12:30-3pm, at Enoch David Community Center, 1111 18th Ave S, St. Petersburg, FL 33705.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be sent to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital at


  1. William H West Jr

    Benny, Ronald and Clarence (Mudder) and I grew up in Jordan Park Project across the sidewalk from each other. Too many memories to recite but Benny pritched a curve ball in Little League baseball we called the “Big Bender” which I’m sure had a strikeout record when we were kids under 12. Rest In Peace Benny! Billy West #458 JP.

  2. Shirley Smith

    My sympathy and prayers for the Carter family at this difficult time. Remember earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal. I am Clarence Carter’s classmate.

  3. Annie R. Leonard "Pennye" Thornton

    From childhood Bennie has lived integrously. He was a boy among boys, and I’m sure he lived as a man among men. The Carter family will always be remembered lovingly.. The Project in St. Petersburg, Florida where we grew up was one big loving family. We live daily, striving to make heaven our home. Bennie’s temporary home is now vacant. He has his eternal address now. Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal. Ronald, Josie and Erika, I’m sure that you will miss such a brother, husband and dad as Bennie, hold fast to the many loving memories. My heart is heavy for you at this time. My prayers includes you. Blessings on your family and all who knew and loves Bennie. Annie R.. Leonard “Pennye” Thornton

  4. Al Williams

    My condolences to Bennie’s family. Its’ been many years since I last saw Bennie (Ron and Clarence) in St. Pete. We lived up the street in the projects on 25th. When I remember those days I remember Bennie on Jordan Elementary’s asphalt basketball court with no nets on the rim. I smile. Those were great times. He was a really nice guy.

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