RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina state Rep. Jerry Carter, a longtime Baptist pastor who joined the legislature two years ago, died early Tuesday at age 66, a fellow minister said.
Carter died at Duke Hospital in Durham from complications after surgery late last week to treat a rare gastrointestinal disorder, according to Aaron Shelton, assistant pastor at Reidsville Baptist Church. Carter founded the church in 1988 and served as its senior pastor, Shelton said.
Carter, a Republican representing Rockingham County, was elected to the state House in 2018 and won a second two-year term in 2020. He was was a chairman of the House Families, Children and Aging Policy Committee.
Gov. Roy Cooper announced Carter’s death to open Tuesday’s monthly meeting of the Council of State, which is comprised of 10 statewide elected officials.
“He was a very good man — a veteran, he was a pastor, he was a representative and he was my friend,” Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson said at the meeting. “It’s a devastating loss for his community. He’s a fixture in his community. He’s touched many lives.”
Carter also served previously in the Army, and as a State Highway Patrol chaplain. House Speaker Tim Moore said in a news release that he’s “heartbroken and devastated” by Carter’s death.
Survivors include his wife, Brenda Bruton Carter. She posted on Facebook in early July that her husband was diagnosed with idiopathic myointimal hyperplasia of mesenteric veins. The illness often mimics inflammatory bowel disease, according to medical experts in publications from the National Institutes of Health.
Shelton said Tuesday in a phone interview that Carter made a difference in many people’s lives. Sunday attendance at Reidsville Baptist averaged about 250 people.
“I know he was real,” Shelton said. “Once you got to know him, you’d become a better person, too.”
Rockingham County Republican activists ultimately will meet to pick someone to serve out the remainder of Carter’s two-year term in the 65th District.