Fayette County

Former Herald-Leader publisher Don Carter dies at age 99

Don Carter in 1976, when he was president and publisher of the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Don Carter in 1976, when he was president and publisher of the Lexington Herald-Leader. Staff file photo

Former Herald-Leader publisher Don Carter, 99, of Sea Island, Ga., died Wednesday.

Carter suffered a fall recently, said his friend Jim Green, who is retired from positions as managing editor and vice president for human resources at the Herald-Leader.

Carter was the first publisher of the Herald-Leader after it was bought by Knight Newspapers, which merged with Ridder Publications to form Knight Ridder in 1974.

He left Lexington in the late 1970s to become vice president for news for Knight Ridder in Miami.

Green said Carter was “a very Southern gentleman” and “a very precise editor.”

“He really believed in doing things right and treating people fair,” Green said.

Earlier in his career, he had held positions as an editor at The National Observer, The (Hackensack, N.J.) Record and The Macon Telegraph and News.

He was a former president of the Associated Press Media Editors and a member of the Transylvania University Board of Trustees.

In 2012, he helped establish the Carolyn McKenzie and Don E. Carter Chair for Excellence in Journalism at his alma mater, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

Carter, a World War II veteran and a cousin of former President Jimmy Carter, would have been 100 on June 22.

His wife of 67 years, Carolyn McKenzie Carter, was a writer and photographer. The couple met in the early 1940s, when they were assigned to cover the same story for competing newspapers in Atlanta.

The couple, both natives of Georgia, moved to Sea Island for retirement in 1982. Carolyn Carter died in 2010.

Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Simons First Presbyterian Church, where Carter was a member. Arrangements are being handled by Edo Miller and Sons Funeral Home of Brunswick, Ga.