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Jack Carter honored in Lodi's Community Hall of Fame

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Posted: Sunday, September 11, 2005 10:00 pm

Once chosen as one of the "handsomest men in Lodi," Jack Carter, of Lodi, is best known for his work at Burton's Shoes. He was well-regarded for making customers happy. His motto at the shoe store was: "We cheerfully refund and gladly exchange."

Though the 83-year-old says he's not as fashion conscious as he was during his years in the shoe business, he still stops by the store to see what's in style.

"It's interesting to watch the trends," he said.

The wedge shoe for women was one of the most popular types of shoes he sold, and today, wedge or platform shoes are still available.

He recounts that when pointed shoes first came out, women didn't like them much; but when even more pointy-toed shoes came out, the first pointed shoes were the "new round toe."

For men in the 1960s, the saddle shoe and the white buck shoe were most popular. He still has a pair of clean white buck shoes that he wears for special occasions.

Carter, who was also known for helping to start Lodi National Bank and senior day care, was nominated to the Community Hall of Fame for his contributions to business. Other inductees this year include the late Carl Wishek Sr., long-time leader of Farmers and Merchants Bank; Norman King, M.D., retired Lodi Memorial Hospital anesthesiologist; John and Gail Kautz, local farmers who have helped with 4-H and FFA and work in the wine business; and Gersh Rosen, for education and work at the historical museum.

Carter was born in San Francisco on April 11, 1922. His family moved to Modesto four years later, where he went to school and junior college. While in high school, he worked at a shoe store. When he heard through a fellow salesman that a position was open at the new Burton's Shoes in Chico, he went for it and ended up working at the store in Redding in 1941. He went in the U.S. Navy and was a pilot during World War II on submarine patrol on the East Coast. He married Martha, who had known him since school; they have been married for 62 years.

After the war, Carter went back to Redding. He became a partner in the Burton Shoe group, which bought Pickett Shoe store in Lodi on Pine Street.

Carter and the Burton Shoe group later opened stores in Modesto, Livermore and Paradise. Out of the chain of six stores, Lodi's store was the most successful, he said.

"In my nature, I was generous to customers," he said. He paid customers' parking tickets after meters were put in. "I didn't realize I was making friends with customers when I did that."

He realized it was important to be good to customers because when new people came to town looking for a shoe store to go to, happy customers could recommend Burton's Shoes.

"He's generous to a fault with customers or anyone," said his wife Martha Carter. "He just loves people."

He got into the bank business in 1965. He and five other Lodi men started Lodi National Bank (which later became Mid-Cal Bank), and he was elected a director and chairman of the bank board.

"We just felt there was a need for an independent bank," he said. "It grew to our satisfaction and to the customers' satisfaction."

They opened branches in Manteca, Tracy, Stockton and Pine Grove, and later on, the Bank of Stockton bought it. Carter was chairman of the bank for many years and still is a director of the bank.

"He had a wild sense of humor in his business days, and he still does," Martha Carter said.

Carter has other accomplishments. He received his Eagle Scout award in the Boy Scouts in Modesto. He was president of Rotary Club. He served as director of the Chamber of Commerce and on the Lodi Memorial Hospital Board. He helped start the senior day care at Hutchins Street Square, which he says is a good service to the town. He also did much more. And in the 1980s, he was chosen as one of the handsomest men in Lodi.

"I was quite pleased and surprised," Carter said.

Contact reporter Jennifer Snyder at jennifers@lodinews.com.

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