Paul Wilson Carter

February 5, 1924 ~ September 24, 2021 (age 97)


Paul Wilson Carter left this world for heaven on September 24, 2021, to join his precious wife of 73 years, Lois, who preceded him by four days.

Paul was born in Salisbury, NC, on February 5, 1924. He was the youngest of Samuel and Bessie Briggs Carter. Paul's sister, Julia Gooch, and his brothers, John and Sam, also preceded him in death. Paul lived in Salisbury most of his life, leaving only to serve in WWII and for several years in Jasper, Alabama.

Paul met the love of his life, Lois Brown, soon after returning from combat service in Europe. They met at Catawba College, courted, and then married in 1948. Paul and Lois raised four children, Scott (wife Jeanette Dunn, Asheville), Kristen Carter, who died in 2010, Carol McNeely (husband Chris, Salisbury), and Kathryn Andrews (husband Bryan, Statesville). Their family grew, adding 13 grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren.

Paul attended public schools in Salisbury, graduating from Boyden High School in 1941, where he led the marching band as Drum Major. Before the war he attended Salisbury Business College and NC State. In 1944 he entered the Army Air Corps and served as an aerial navigator on a B-17 Flying Fortress in the 8th Air force, 34th Bomb Group, as a 1st Lieutenant. He flew 35 combat missions over Nazi-occupied Europe.

After the war Paul attended Catawba College majoring in accounting and business courses, then taught business classes at Salisbury Business College.

Paul and his brother John formed Carter Brothers Furniture Company in 1946 with the combat pay that they had earned and saved. For the next 40 years they, along with other partners, manufactured upholstered furniture in Salisbury and other locations. In 1963 they purchased Cottonsmith Furniture Company,

makers of office furniture in Salisbury. In 1965 they sold their company to Dolly Madison Industries.

In 1968 Paul and John and other partners founded Carter Chair Corporation with facilities at 1000 N. Long Street in Salisbury and other places. In 1984 their interests were purchased by a new company called Carter Contemporary which continued to operate on N. Long Street.

Paul and John built industrial buildings in Salisbury, Spencer, and Lancaster, Texas. Paul helped lead Carolina Color Corporation in Salisbury and Ohio, a manufacturer of plastic colorants.

Paul was a "just the facts" kind of fellow, and he loved a good joke and a dry martini. He would quietly give anyone the shirt off his back and wanted no thanks in return. He was generous, gentle and fun-loving. He, his son Scott, and friends built a party barge where for years they all spent many an afternoon cruising on High Rock Lake. Sing-a-longs were a highlight of the fun.

For decades Paul and Lois played golf and tennis with friends. They also enjoyed family and friends at their vacation home in Blowing Rock they built in 1989.

Paul served the community in a number of ways. He organized and served as the founding chairman of the Rowan County Housing Authority. He served on the board of the Salisbury-Rowan Chamber of Commerce, the Rowan County Planning Board, and on the local boards of Northwestern Bank, Wachovia Bank, and as chairman of the local board of First Union. He served in the Rotary Club, Lions Club and Salisbury Country Club. He served on the board of the Rowan County Airport Commission and served as its chairman during one of its major expansions.

Paul was a dedicated worker and co-chairman of the Earl Ruth for US Congress political campaigns. Dr. Ruth served three terms in the US Congress beginning in 1968.

Paul joined St. John's Lutheran Church when he married Lois where he served on the church council, was an usher, a communion assistant, and on various special committees. He had a beautiful tenor voice and sang for many years in the church choir and in the Men's Chorus. Paul was especially interested in providing St. John's with its Columbarium, and he served on the committee that planned it and recommended it to the congregation. He and Lois will be interred there.

US history was important to Paul, especially Civil War history. He trod nearly all the major battlefields, especially the ones in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania where his grandfather, Charles Samuel Carter, and Lois's grandfather, Nathan Brown, served in the Army of Northern Virginia.

Paul was a founding trustee and ardent supporter of Salisbury Academy, the kindergarten of which is named "The Paul W. and Lois B. Carter Kindergarten." His interest in education stemmed from his mother who founded and taught at Salisbury Business College.

Jesus said, "... death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.... Behold, I am making all things new." Rev. 21:4-5.

Service: A joint Celebration of Life Service will be held for Paul and wife Lois at 11:00 am on October 15, 2021 at St. John's Lutheran Church 200 W. Innes St. Salisbury NC 28144 with Rev. Dr. Rhodes Woolly officiating.  The service will be live streamed at

Memorials: Memorials may be sent to Salisbury Academy, 2210 North Jake Alexander Blvd., Salisbury, NC 28144, or to an organization of the donor's choice.


Lyerly Funeral Home is serving the Carter family. Online condolences may be made at

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Services at a later date

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