Newton County lost a beloved son Saturday with the passing of Ron Carter. Born in Porterdale in 1941, he lived in the county all of his life.
Known for being a compassionate loan officer in careers at First National Bank, Bank of Covington, Main Street Bank, BB&T and United Bank, he died after a brief illness affecting his lungs.
"Coming through the funeral home line was a tribute to him," said his son Ron Jr. of the crowd that wrapped around the block and filed into the funeral home one at a time to pay respects to the Carter family - some waiting as long as an hour and a half.
Ron Jr. said he was the consummate father.
"He was completely behind all three of us and my mom and all we did," Ron Jr. said, "He set the bar really high for us, but he was always behind us as long as we did the best we could."
Ron's wife, Libby, met him when she was 13 years old. The couple later married in 1964.
"The most important person to him was my mom," Ron Jr. said.
Ron and Libby had three children-Ron Jr., Steven and Gregory. Ron Jr. said family was extremely important to his father.
"Every time he passed you, he said he loved you," Ron Jr. said, "and he didn't just say 'I love you' and then walk away. He expected you to say it back."
Currently serving as vice president of United Bank when he died, Ron had attained an extensive network of colleagues.
Long-time friend Rob Fowler first met Ron when they were children and remembered how everyone called him "Beanie."
He came to know him professionally when he started work at the Bank of Covington about 20 years ago.
"However, he was so much more than a fellow employee," Fowler said. "We worked together, worried together and played together."
Fowler said many of the approximately 600 people who attended Ron's funeral shared stories about how he helped them either obtain a loan when they had no credit, funds to go to college with or when they were simply in dire straights. Fowler and Ron Jr. said Ron made loans with gut instinct based on the person's character rather than statistics spit out by a computer.
"What I admired about him as a good loan officer is the one's he made that he shouldn't have approved," Fowler said. "But he held you accountable and expected you to work hard."
Anyone who knew Ron professionally or personally knew he was devoted to community service and an avid golfer. No one knew this better than his youngest brother Pete.
Growing up as the youngest in the family, Pete said Ron looked out for him the same way he looked out for his children and clients. Ron served in the Covington Rotary Club for 40 years-30 with Pete.
During his years in Rotary, Ron served as club president and was named a Multi-Stone Paul Harris Fellow for making significant financial contributions to Rotary International efforts such as eradicating polio.
Pete said he cherishes serving in Rotary with his brother for three decades.
"Every Tuesday we saw each other eye to eye face to face," Pete said. "We may have not always sat together-- it may have been a tip of the hand, a pat on the back, but we were together every week.
"The only way I can describe that is special."
Ron also loved golf, but according to Pete, his hobby was not so much about teeing off as it was about fellowship. Pete described his brother as kind, always wearing a smile, courteous and always looking out for the next guy.
"Everybody was more important than him," Pete said.
He said his brother's best quality was his uncanny ability to create solid relationships.
"The challenge is for all of us that knew my brother Ron," Pete said, "is to take his goodness that he has shown in building relationships and pass it on the next generation."