John Ross Carter, 81, of University Ave., Hamilton, NY passed away Saturday, March 28, 2020 at his home, surrounded by his loving family.
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He was born June 22, 1938 in Baytown, TX, to Robert L. and Virginia Cooke Carter. In 1956 he graduated from Robert E. Lee High School and went on to Baylor University where he received his BA in 1960. That same year he married his high school sweetheart, Sandra McNeill, and traveled to Louisville, KY, where he received a BD from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1963. In the fall of that year they traveled to the UK where John studied at Kings College and the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and received the MTh degree in 1965. Seven years later John received his PhD from Harvard University having spent three of those years in Sri Lanka on a Fulbright-Hays Scholarship researching his thesis topic dealing with the Theravada Buddhist Tradition.
John was the Professor of the Study of the Great Religions of the World, Professor of Philosophy & Religion, and Director of Chapel House, Emeritus at Colgate University. During his distinguished teaching career he received several awards and distinctions including the DLitt (Honoris Causa) from Kelaniya University in 1999 and the Colgate Senior Class of 2012 award. Research continued and broadened as John became a visiting research associate at the following institutions: in Shinto Studies at Kokugakuin University, Tokyo, in 1973, as well as at the division of Cultural Anthropology at the National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, in 1985-86; in Mahayana Buddhist Studies at Ryukoku University, Kyoto, in 1985-85 and at Otani University, Kyoto in 1993. That same year, 1993, he was honored to be one of the presenters at the Wijesekera Memorial Oration in Colombo.
John was a loving and supportive family man who made family gatherings a priority. He enjoyed the outdoors, fishing, camping and canoeing. Besides the outdoor activities, scholar that he was, he also enjoyed the many years he spent researching records of the early Colgate graduates who became missionaries to various locations in Asia.
John was a member of the First Baptist Church in Hamilton. He was a former Boy Scout who proudly attained the rank of Eagle Scout.
Surviving are his wife, Sandra; his children, Christopher John (Saori Hojo) Carter of Tokyo, Japan; Mary Elizabeth (Andrew) Strong of Hamilton, NY; grandchildren, Iori and Ian Carter, Samuel and Eve Strong; many beloved nieces, nephews and cousins in Texas. He was predeceased by a brother, Robert Louis Carter; and sisters, Alice Rose Becker and Mary Nan Redmond.
A Memorial Service will be held at the Colgate Chapel at a later date and time to be announced.
Interment will be in the Colgate Cemetery.
Contributions in his memory may be made to any one of the following charities: (1) UNICEF, 125 Maiden Lane, New York, NY 10038; (2) Doctors Without Borders at email@example.com; (3) American Friends Service Committee, AFSC Development 1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia, PA 19102; or (4) Oxfam America. Attn: Donor Services, 226 Causeway St., Boston, MA 02114-2206
Arrangements have been entrusted to Burgess & Tedesco Funeral Home, 25 Broad St., Hamilton, NY.