Cover photo for Barbara Carter's Obituary
Barbara Carter Profile Photo
1937 Barbara 2023

Barbara Carter

June 22, 1937 — August 18, 2023

Barbara Ann Carter, 86, of Fairfax, Oklahoma, passed away on Friday, August 18, 2023, while tending to her garden, doing what she loved.  Born on June 22, 1937, in Oklahoma City, she joined the welcoming arms of her parents, Byron and Ora Whaley, a few days later in Fairfax and was lovingly raised in Fairfax through her high school years.  Byron and Ora owned and operated the Tee Pee Service Station in town until Byron’s passing in 1952, the day before Barbara’s 16th birthday. She graduated a proud Fairfax Red Devil, and participated in cheerleading, band, and various clubs, and was a classically trained pianist.

A proud alumnus of Oklahoma State University, Barbara was part of the Delta Zeta sorority and earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education.  She and her childhood friend Suzanne Homan (Fife) moved to Golden, Colorado and started their teaching careers. Barbara, ever the adventurer, worked summers at a dude ranch there.  Barbara met and married John (Jack) Charles Stevens of Golden in December 1959, and gave birth to their daughter Dawn Renee in November 1960.  Sadly, Jack passed away in August 1960 from complications following heart surgery, prior to Dawn’s birth.

With Dawn in tow, Barbara returned to Fairfax to be with her mother, and in June 1962 she and James (Jim) Lee Carter, also of Fairfax, married. They added to their family with the addition of Cheryl Lynn in 1963, and James Scott in 1964, after having moved back to Colorado.  They made Arvada, Colorado home for 10 years, and moved to a small town, Castle Rock, Colorado for the next couple of decades, longing for the small-town life they were raised in.  Barbara’s mom, Ora, joined the family in Colorado in 1977, living there until her passing in 1988.

Teaching and instilling a love of learning was Barbara’s life’s passion, and she was well-known for her creativity and fun-spirited lessons in her elementary classrooms.  She had a reputation of dressing the parts of a detective, a scientist in a lab coat, a pioneer woman crossing the United States, as well as taking her students on adventure-filled field trips via covered wagons, mountain trains, and hiking on area trails.  She passionately believed in hands-on learning, and her many students over the years benefited from her lessons.  Her own children took part in similar summer adventures as they camped and fished throughout Colorado in the summers, learning about the history of Colorado through visits to ghost towns, abandoned mines, rivers and beaver ponds, and beautiful hikes.  She even worked at the local Renaissance Festival in costume for a few summers with Cheryl and Scott! While teaching, Barbara was instrumental in bringing the American Federation of Teachers union to the school district, which was designed to bring a collaborative partnership between teachers and administration, which it did for several decades.  She was proud of this work.

Traveling by RV took over their lives upon Barbara’s retirement, and she and Jim crisscrossed the country for several years, where Barbara also had a side business of selling iron-on sparkly designs for clothing and teaching people how to create their designs – she was always in the teaching mode.  But Oklahoma was calling their hearts and they returned to their hometown of Fairfax to live there full-time in 1998.  Not one to be still for very long, Barbara was part of the Study Club (where the members presented and learned from one another each month), increased her long-time involvement in PEO, (a sisterhood organization promoting philanthropy and supporting college-bound young women), Bible study groups, being a vital volunteer for Fairfax Closet of Hope (assisting those in need of clothing), and volunteering at the Fairfax Library and the Fairfax Historical Society.  An incredibly active reader, Barbara kept a running list of every book she read since the 1980’s, filling numerous notebooks with titles through the years.  She loved to read to and share books with her four grandchildren and her eight great-grandchildren, as well as with her son-in-law who shared an enthusiasm for similar authors and genres.

Jim and Barbara lived west of Fairfax for many years, until Jim’s passing in 2011.  She was thrilled to travel to Alaska and be part of the group of tourists being led by her son, in his capacity of an Alaska tour guide.  Barbara began living with her daughter Cheryl, where the two shared many fun times together, and settled in town in Fairfax. They had completed several renovation projects at their home, including putting together a lovely garden to grow flowers, vegetables, and maintaining a koi pond, and Barbara enjoyed taking care of it and drinking her coffee overlooking the beauty.  The last year allowed Barbara to spend several occasions with her entire family, the most recent being the wedding of her granddaughter, Kaitlen. Her family grew with great love and care, as did her garden, where she passed on Friday.

Barbara was preceded in death by her first husband Jack (1960), her father Byron (1952), her mother Ora (1988), her husband of 49 years James (2011).  She is survived by her children who adored her Dawn Carrico (Cris) of Rockford, Illinois, Cheryl Carter of Fairfax, Oklahoma, and J. Scott Carter of Thornton, Colorado, as well as her much-loved grandchildren Jeff Williams (Jenna) of St. Louis, Missouri, Justin Williams (Brooke) of Logandale, Nevada, Jillian Lambrechtsen (Frans) of Castle Rock, Colorado, and Kaitlen Vallentine (Wes) of Houston, Texas, and her eight great-grandchildren Brielle, Brylee, Jace, Olivia, Harper, Madelyn, Wilhelm, and Hugh.  She is also survived by her many close friends in the community she loved.

In lieu of flowers, we encourage donating to the Fairfax Library, 158 E. Elm St, Fairfax, OK, 918-642-5535.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Barbara Carter, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service

Friday, August 25, 2023

10:00am - 2:00 pm (Central time)

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Celebration of Life Luncheon

Friday, August 25, 2023

Starts at 11:15 am (Central time)

First Christian Church - Basement

160 N. Hunsaker (4th) St, Fairfax, OK 74637

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