Lyle H. Carter
Lyle H. Carter

May 23, 1930 - August 22, 2016
Born in Breckenridge, Minnesota
Resided in Denver, CO
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Lyle H. Carter (May 23, 1930 – August 22, 2016)

Lyle H. Carter (86) of Denver, Colorado, passed away on August 22, 2016. He survived raising his children, Patricia (James), James (Karen), Susan (Michael), Gerard (Connie), Ruth (Stan), Thomas (Kim), Mary (Ron), John (Angie) and Michael; grandchildren, Matthew (Lindsey), Beth (Mike), Katy (Steve), Rhys, Morgan (Mai), Marin, Bryce, Abby, Ryan (Fabiane), Nicholas (Tiffany), Maxwell, Cecilia, Casey, Mathea, Louise and Joseph; great-grandchildren, Cole, Chase, Graham and Greta; siblings, Millie, Kay and Arlene, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 60 years, Jean. He was comforted by his dear friend Carolyn following Jean's passing.

Farmhand, Marine, and Suitor:
Lyle was born in 1930 during the crashing economy of the great depression. He grew up with a tight knit family living and working as tenant farmers in North Dakota and Minnesota. He was the only boy in a family of four and guided his sisters throughout his life. His parents Ruth and Huber were industrious and hard-working, traits they instilled in their children. He farmed with horses until they could afford tractors, which provided many amusing tales, such as when his uncle drove the tractor into a ditch all the time yelling "Whoa! Whoa!" It is purported that Lyle developed an improvement to the design of their tractor, which he sent to the manufacturer and which was included in future models.

In high school, Lyle and his best friends found the course offerings uninteresting, preferring agriculture and animal husbandry to mathematics and chemistry, so the four of them joined the Marines. In his training, Lyle and his friends completed their GED's and shipped off to Korea. As former farmhands, they were practical and gifted at problem solving and practical jokes. One time they disassembled a horse-drawn wagon and reassembled it on the roof of the schoolhouse. Lyle was also a born leader, which became apparent during his time in Korea and Japan where he worked as the Company Clerk. He told few stories of his time in Korea; however, he was incredibly proud of his time in the service and was honored later in life when the Korean War was formally recognized. He achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant. He was loved during his time in the military partly because he was responsible for providing cigarettes, beer and paychecks.

Following his time in the service, he met a young schoolteacher in Campbell, MN, through one of her dance students, Lyle's sister Kay. Lyle was smitten. They courted according to the strict rules for a single rural teacher, which dictated the proper clothing worn, the number of dates a teacher could go on, and other limitations. Away from the prying eyes of the locals, Jean and Lyle went dancing in Chicago with friends. Once they did not have proper ID's, so they couldn't get into the dancehall and ended up in a strip club instead. As a son, Lyle was hard working, playful, loyal and attentive; as a brother, he was strong, kind and generous. As a suitor, he was a partner in crime.

Husband and Father:
Lyle and Jean married June 6, 1953. A keg of beer topped the celebration before they left on their honeymoon. Their first daughter, Patricia Ann -- because "the first one comes quickest" --was born about 9 months later. James followed one year later; Susan 16 months after that. These three formed the group later known as "the big kids." They moved to Denver shortly before Susan was born, barely a city in those days with pheasants scattering on the runway of the airport. Motherhood suited Jean. In quick succession she had three more children—Gerard, Ruth and Thomas—who formed the group later known as "the middle kids." Jean and Lyle thought that 6 was the perfect number of children so the 'middle children' moniker was confusing until the next 3 came along, albeit bit more slowly. Mary, John, and Michael formed the final installment of "the little kids."

Lyle and Jean lived full lives. They went square dancing, bowling and were active in the VFW. They also built a strong faith and involved their children in the Catholic Church. Lyle encouraged his children in sports, especially swimming. He took them hiking, rock-hounding, fossil collecting, camping, fishing and even river rafting, inspiring them to appreciate and love nature as much as he did. Originally Jean and Lyle had contracted for 50 years, but once they reached that milestone, they decided to keep on going. What made for such a long partnership, one that continued to grow, became more fun, more intimate? They had two agreements: one, no nursing homes; and two, whoever left had to take the kids. The couple joked that the threat of the custody stipulation formed the basis of their lasting marriage. Ultimately, they enjoyed a deep and abiding love for 60 years.

A Career in Construction:
While Jean built a career as a teacher, Lyle built a career in construction, teaching and leading by example. Through his work, he helped build Denver and the surrounding areas. Initially, he worked for Minnesota Construction and later Olson and finally Hyder Construction. He had a reputation as a strong leader and built his career starting as a carpenter's apprentice, later a site foreman and eventually superintendant of the construction sites for numerous well-known buildings in Denver. He was involved in the Denver Federal Building, at the time the tallest and first floating form building in this area. He was also foreman and eventually superintendant on buildings at Denver West Complex, Martin Marietta complex in Deer Creek Canyon, Air Force Academy Chapel, Denver Tech Center and Keystone. He had a commercial floor cleaning business, C&C Cleaning, in addition to working construction to help make ends meet. He added an addition to family's small home in southwest Denver, doing much of the work in his spare time. Following his second open-heart surgery, he switched from construction to estimating for Hyder; for this transition at age 60, he taught himself Excel and set up an estimating template that was adopted for use by the company. Lyle was known for his keen problem-solving skills and was consulted by local architects and engineers for years after his retirement. Lyle worked long, challenging hours; however, he still made time for his family. He was well-respected and known for his knowledge and professionalism. A drive around Denver with Lyle elicited fascinating personal stories about the construction of many Colorado landmarks.

Lyle and Jean loved being grandparents. They had raised nine successful children and looked forward to spoiling their grandchildren. From the first grandson Matthew in 1975, Lyle had 41 years as a grandfather and 15 more grandchildren after Matthew: Rhys, Morgan, Marin, Katy, Beth, Ryan, Nicholas, Max, Cici, Casey, Mathea, Abby, Bryce, Joe and Louise. He welcomed some from birth and some from adolescence into the family without reservation. He even had the joy of living long enough to have great grandchildren: Chase, Cole, Greta and Graham. He loved and welcomed all these children in his life.

If You Met Lyle Carter, You Probably Know This
Lyle loved his wife Jean above all. He loved his family. He loved being a father. In an interview regarding his time in the Marine Corps; he remarked: "I want to be remembered as a good father." His children concur that he excelled in this endeavor. He had a quick wit and a huge heart. He had a deep faith and converted to the Catholic Church from his Episcopal upbringing to marry Jean. He was proud of his service in the Marines and was a veteran of the Korean War. He took his sons and daughters on camping trips and hikes. He was a collector of unusual things, like a complete fossilized turtle. He found interesting rocks and fossils on job sites or out in the woods. There was no challenge that didn't prove entertaining, like working out how to load a 200 pound rock into a station wagon for his rock garden. Lyle loved his dogs from Skipper and Tara, to a series of small dogs Mindy, Scamper, Buffy, Misty, Midget and Mac; however, Cowboy, the Plott hound was particularly special to him.

He and Jean were adventurous and got up in the middle of the night to watch comets streak across the night sky —unfortunately they locked themselves out and had to wake up the neighbors at 3am, a story told many times over. He loved a little brandy now again. He loved Colorado history and old westerns. After marrying a school teacher, he developed a love of books, especially Louis L'Amour and Colorado history. He inspired all who knew through his kindness. He loved Alaska and had once considered homesteading there. When he and Jean first moved to Colorado from Minnesota, they considered buying the pink Victorian house in Idaho Springs and settled for the home they remained in for the rest of their lives because the down payment was only $25. He loved dancing. He loved music, especially classical, western and John Denver. And he loved hearing from family and friends. He was kind and generous to all he met. He was practical. When he retired from construction, he volunteered his time at the church, and with the VFW, American Legion, Korean War Veterans Association and other service organizations. He loved the Bible. He enjoyed gardening and grew vegetables. He always drove a truck, even when it looked like an SUV. He loved and was loved. Ultimately, he had rich and fulfilling life.

Gloria Steinem wrote: "The most revolutionary of all qualities is kindness." In this way Lyle and Jean were revolutionary; they made sure their daughters felt free to be brave, their sons could cook, grandchildren and great-grandchildren felt loved unconditionally, students and friends got nourished physically, emotionally and spiritually, and veterans and their families had Christmas and Thanksgiving. They were the type of people who arrived early, rolled up their sleeves and got to work. While Jean led the charge, Lyle was right beside her. When Jean passed, Lyle picked up the torch and continued to lead.

The Closing Chapter:
Lyle died after all nine of his children made it home to say goodbye. Lyle wanted to die at home, and though this was not possible in the final days, his children surrounded him with the love they shared. Lyle survived two open heart surgeries and numerous other ailments, only to be struck down by cancer in his final months. He died as he lived, with dignity, honor and grace and comforted by his faith and the love of his family.

A Memorial Mass will be held in his honor at One-thirty in the Afternoon on Thursday, September 29, 2016 at All Saints Catholic Church, 2559 South Federal Boulevard, Denver.

Interment will follow at Three-fifteen in the Afternoon at Fort Logan National Cemetery, 3698 South Sheridan Boulevard, Denver.

A Reception in Lyle's honor will be held at VFW Post 322, 3800 South Windermere Street, Englewood, Colorado 80110.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Lyle's honor to the following charities

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Eastern Colorado Healthcare System
1055 Clermont Street
Denver, CO 80220
Please identify on check that donation is for Admissions Coffee

All-Saints Catholic Church Food Bank
2559 South Federal Blvd
Denver CO US 80219

American Heart Association

VFW National Home for Children




All Saints Catholic Church
2559 S. Federal Boulevard
Denver, CO USA 80219
Thursday, September 29, 2016
1:30 PM
Fort Logan National Cemetery
3698 South Sheridan Boulevard
Denver, CO US 80235
Thursday, September 29, 2016
3:15 PM
Family Gathering
VFW Post 322
3800 S. Windermere St.
Englewood, CO US 80110
Thursday, September 29, 2016


All Saints Catholic Church Food Bank
2559 South Federal Blvd
Denver, CO 80219
American Heart Association
VFW National Home for Children