Mike Carter, age 64, of Gallatin, TN, passed away on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, following a courageous battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
Mike was born on April 10, 1958 in Mission, Texas to Thurman William (TW) and Betty Drake Carter. He graduated from McAllen High School in 1976.
Mike had a servant’s heart and dedicated his life to serving his community through a distinguished career spanning 42 years as a Law Enforcement Officer, Attorney, and Judge. Mike began his career in law enforcement in 1980 as a Patrolman with the Lubbock, TX Police Department. Following eight years of service in Lubbock, Mike moved to Nashville, TN where he joined the Gallatin Police Department. While continuing his duties as a police officer, Mike attended Middle Tennessee State University where he earned degrees in Political Science, English, and Spanish. Following his studies at MTSU, Mike enrolled in the Nashville School of Law in pursuit of achieving his dream to be an attorney. In 1995, while in law school, Mike left the Gallatin Police Department to serve the Tennessee State Senate as a Legislative Aide for Senator Don Wright. In addition to his career in law enforcement, Mike was also employed by the Sumner County School District at Portland High School where he developed and taught the first Criminal Justice Program in Sumner County, giving many students their first introduction to a possible career in criminal justice. Mike graduated from Nashville School of Law in 1997 and joined the Bednarz and Bednarz law firm. In 1998 he achieved his dream of opening his own law practice on the Gallatin downtown square. Soon thereafter, Mike partnered with now-Judge, David Howard, establishing Carter and Howard Attorneys at Law, where he practiced as a trial attorney for 17 years until his appointment as General Session Judge, Division III in 2015. As a judge, Mike was proud to be able to impact numerous lives through his compassionate, fair, honest temperament. He was, at his core, a public servant and went above and beyond to assist those that came before him. Mike believed the citizens of Sumner County were in need of a program to assist offenders in addressing untreated mental health issues. He started the Sumner County Mental Health Court soon after being elected,and presided over hundreds of successful cases. Although his battle with ALS posed difficult challenges, Mike thoroughly enjoyed his work and faithfully continued serving as Judge throughout his illness.
Mike was deeply involved in the community. He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Hendersonville. He was an active member of the Tennessee General Session Judges Conference, the Sumner County Bar Association, Hendersonville Rotary, and the Republican Party of Sumner County. Until he took office, Mike served as an “on-call” attorney for the Southern States Police Benevolent Association (PBA) where he represented police officers in administrative cases. Mike was a former Chairman of the Good Neighbor Mission, a non-profit corporation dedicated to the homeless of Sumner County, and served for many years on the board of directors for the Sumner County Teen Court. Mike also served as an attorney/coach for the Station Camp High School Mock Trial team, was a former Vice-President of the Board of Directors for the Station Camp High School Bison Dugout Club, and a Boy Scouts of America leader for many years.
Mike took pleasure in spending time with his friends and enjoying the simple things in life. He had a way of making people feel special, seen, and loved. Some of his favorite things were his Grandma Vera’s chocolate pie, Sunday afternoon football, playing card games with his family, grilling on his Kamado Joe, woodworking, watching Dateline, and sitting on the back porch.
Many know Mike Carter in a professional capacity, but his proudest achievement was his family, where he was a kind, devoted, and loving, husband and father.
Mike is survived by his beloved wife of 32 years, Kathleen (Kat) Titus Carter; son, Jeff Carter, Tulsa, OK; daughter, Kelsi Carter, Gallatin, TN; son, Austin Carter, Captain, U.S. Air Force (Claire), Las Vegas, NV; mother-in-law, Jean Odom, Gallatin, TN; sister, Janice Richards, Cameron, TX; sister, Lee Ann Collins (Chip), Brooks, GA; brother, Jim Carter (Jennifer), San Antonio, TX; aunt, Mary Clayton, Springlake, TX; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Mike was preceded in death by his parents and cherished uncle, Donnie Clayton.
Funeral Services will be conducted 1:00 P.M., Tuesday, July 19, 2022 from First Baptist Church Hendersonville with Dr. Bruce Chesser officiating. Interment will follow in Crestview Memory Gardens in Gallatin. Visitation with the family will be on Monday, July 18, 2022 from 2:00 – 7:00 P.M. at Sumner Funeral & Cremation Lakeside in Hendersonville and on Tuesday from 11:00 A.M. until time of service at the church.
Mike will be lovingly carried to his final resting place by pallbearers Jim Carter, David Howard, Paul Akers, Chip Collins, Dan Fletcher, and Derrick Morgan. Honorary pallbearers Sumner County Sheriff’s Office, Gallatin Police Department, Hendersonville Police Department, Portland Police Department, Westmoreland Police Department, Goodlettsville Police Department, Millersville Police Department, and the Sumner County Bar Association.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in honor of Mike Carter to the Sumner County Mental Health Court, Checks may be made to: Recovery Court of Sumner County Inc., 132 South Water Avenue, Gallatin, TN 37066, Memo: “Mental Health Court” or “Mike Carter Memorial Fund”; or the ALS Association – Tennessee Chapter, Checks may be made to: ALS Association Tennessee Chapter, 783 Old Hickory Blvd. Suite 257, Brentwood, TN 37027, Memo: “In honor of Mike Carter”.
Arrangements Entrusted to: Sumner Funeral & Cremation Lakeside, 104 Sanders Ferry Road, Hendersonville (615) 822-4442