Shelby Henry Carter, Jr., Associate of Class of 1953

(3/23/1931 1/25/2017)

 

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SShelby Henry Carter, Jr., died peacefully in Austin, TX, on January 25, 2017, surrounded by his beloved wife of 63 years, Pat, and family who were so important in his life. He was 85. Shelby was a multitalented and multifaceted man of many professional accomplishments, but his family was always his highest priority and greatest source of inspiration. Shelby referred to Pat as “the flower of my life.” He also credited her as being his secret weapon in his many life ventures.

Shelby was born on March 23, 1931, in Brooklyn, NY. His father, Chief Mate on a merchant marine vessel, was killed in the Battle of the Atlantic during WWII. Shelby was eleven and his sister, Alice, was nine. Their mother, a Scottish immigrant, worked tirelessly to raise them and her effort was rewarded. Shelby earned an academic scholarship to McDonogh School, a military academy near Baltimore, MD. Shelby always said that McDonogh was a surrogate father to him, teaching him values like hard work, integrity, and the importance of a solid education. While attending McDonogh, Shelby began dating a beautiful and vivacious young woman named Pat Bunn who would become his wife and partner for life.

After graduating from McDonogh in 1949, Shelby enrolled at UT Austin where he joined the Sigma Nu Fraternity, NROTC, and qualified for Marine Platoon Leaders Class (PLC). He spent his first year at UT in the NROTC Unit. He was in Company B, 3rd Platoon. That first year he was also a member of the Mariners Club, which was closely related to the NROTC Unit. In his second year at UT Shelby transferred to the PLC program. In 1953, he received his BBA, married Pat, and began active duty as a 2ndLt in the United States Marine Corps. He was selected as aid-to-camp to General Edward W. Snedeker, Commanding General of the Second Marine Division.

Following his love for family and his pride in the USMC, Shelby cherished new ideas and new ventures. His indomitable spirit led him to be an influential figure in American business and Texas education over a five decade span. Shelby spent 24 years with IBM and then Xerox retiring from the latter company in 1985 as Xerox Corporate Vice-President and General Sales Manager of the company's worldwide operations. The title itself tells of his corporate accomplishments, but does not fully describe the admiration of his peers and subordinates nor does it describe the energy and innovative attitude he brought to Corporate America at that time. Author Robert L. Shook grasped Shelby's abilities and, in his 1978 book, “Ten Greatest Salespersons,” Mr. Shook named Shelby to that exclusive list.

After Shelby took early retirement from Xerox in 1985, he and Pat left the frigid northeast and moved to the warmer and hospitable climes of Austin. At that time, Austin was still a slow-paced university town known as much for its quirky nature as its fine university. In 1985, few predicted the explosion of commerce and growth that was soon to follow. It is not an overstatement that Shelby played an early and vital role in making Austin the high tech center that it is today.

Once in Austin, Shelby recognized that UT and its educational excellence would play a key role in attracting new businesses to Austin. Shelby renewed his love affair with The University and began a new career teaching at the UT College of Business Administration and Graduate Business School as a distinguished adjunct professor. Bringing the same innovative and tireless spirit from his corporate days to his new profession, Shelby became a respected and widely sought instructor. In his time teaching, Shelby won several awards, including Outstanding Professor in the Graduate School of Business and the Ex-Students’ Association Texas Excellence Teaching award, and was inducted into the college’s Hall of Fame, the highest honor the school bestows. In 1998, Shelby received the University’s Distinguished Alumnus Award and also served on The Red McCombs School of Business Advisory Council.

Not one merely to preach and pontificate from a lectern, Shelby, while maintaining a full teaching schedule, took his business savvy and marketing knowledge to a new level. He co-founded the pioneering computer networking company, Synoptics, in 1985, which became a Fortune 500 company. He also served as an advisory partner at Austin Ventures, LP, served as Chairman of Pervasive Software Inc., and served on the Board of Directors of Input/Output, Inc., TechWorks, Inc., VitalSigns Software Inc., and Broadjump, Inc. It cannot be overstated that he accomplished these matters well before the “high tech boom” of the mid-2000s. In fact, one could say that Shelby and his peers spawned that boom.

Leadership and creativity coursed through Shelby's blood. Besides his courageous father, the Merchant Mariner, he was close to his uncle, Claude E. Carter, a noted figure in Texas political and legal circles in the 1930s-1950s and served as State Bar President in 1942. Finally, his sister, Alice C. Steinbach, was a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist with the Baltimore Sun.

Both in his personal and professional life, Shelby loved to help others and his generous nature, wry sense of humor, and keen intelligence drew people near and kept them close. Friends, family, colleagues, and students have been buoyed by his unwavering optimism and cheered by the lively twinkle in his eye. With Pat by his side, Shelby established scholarships at McDonogh School, Baltimore, MD and Nazareth College, Rochester, NY, and established The Pat and Shelby Carter Athletic Center at St. Michael’s Academy, Austin, TX, and The Pat and Shelby Carter Endowment for Educational Excellence at The UT McCombs School of Business.

Most of all, Shelby was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He enjoyed cars, boats, living on the lake, and reading military history and everything he could find on Winston Churchill. Above all else, Shelby loved and cherished his wife Pat, who he always said was the best gift he ever gave to his children. A devoted husband and father, his top priority was to create and maintain a safe, rich, and full life for his family.

Shelby is survived by his loving wife, Pat, son Shelby H. Carter III and his wife Beth; son Randolph J. Carter and his wife Lisa; son Michael C. Carter and his wife Natasha; son Colin M. Carter and his wife Sadie; son Daniel C. Carter and his wife Becky; and daughter Jane Carter Barrett and her husband Andy Barrett, sixteen grandchildren and five great grandchildren. His two nephews, Andy Steinbach of CA, and Sam Steinbach of Baltimore, MD also survive Shelby. A Memorial Service was held at St. John Neumann Catholic Church on February 4, 2017.

 

 

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Copyright 2002 UT NROTC Alumni Foundation
Last Updated: June 1, 2017