Ronnie Garner Carter

Photo of Ronnie Garner Carter
Ronnie Garner Carter, age 80, passed away June 20, 2023 in Hot Springs, Ark. He was born March 18, 1943 in Pine Bluff, Ark. to the late Willard Hope Carter and Lena Ethelyn Carter. He was a graduate of Fordyce High School and the University of Arkansas at Monticello. He was a son of Fordyce, Ark. and in the storied tradition of a town that would foster so many greats of the sport, he found a love and an affinity for a game that he would ultimately devote his life to. In legendary coach Jimmy "Red" Parker he found a mentor, friend, and father figure who would coach him to 47 straight wins from 8th to 12th grade for the Redbugs, a feat he never tired of talking about. His love for football continued into college where he accepted a football scholarship at the University of Arkansas to play for the Razorbacks. He helped lead this freshman team to an undefeated year, and his personal record increased to 52 wins. He transferred his sophomore year to UAM and finished his football career out as a Boll Weevil. He was a high school football coach and athletic administrator for 42 years. He made an impact on so many young lives that spanned across multiple states including Arkansas, Georgia and South Carolina from high school to the collegiate level at Clemson University. The longest tenure of his career was spent at Lonoke High School as head football, golf coach and athletic director from 1984-1996. It was this time that would see him win the 1994 AA State football championship. It was a crowning achievement in a career spent in high school athletics, one of which he was extremely proud. Upon retirement from education in 2008 from the Hot Springs School District, he would spend 10 years working for Southwest Sporting Goods as a sales representative until his final retirement in 2018. Throughout his lifetime, Ronnie had multiple achievements including High School All American 1961, Nike AA Coach of the Year 1994-1995, Arkansas Athletic Director of the year 1995-1996, State Award of Merit-National Interscholastic Athletic Administrator Association 2005. He was inducted into the Dallas County Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Arkansas Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2015. He was a faithful member of First Baptist Church of Hot Springs for 23 years serving as a money counter, safety team member, assisted the media team, and a member of Mike Wolf's Faith Builders Connect Group. During his retirement, he enjoyed being a member of the Hot Springs R-C Flying Club and enjoyed flying his airplanes. In April 2021, he discovered a new opponent after being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. With that, he found a new passion fighting the effects of this disease in Rock Steady Boxing. The friendship and fraternity that he found there was a great comfort to him over his last few years. Always a fighter, this group offered him a way to take some semblance of control over a disease that afforded very little. As a natural competitor, he threw himself into it wholeheartedly and rekindled a sense of hope both for himself and for others that he saw bravely facing the same obstacles. Ronnie was a loving husband, father, grandfather and mentor. He was so loved and will be greatly missed by so many. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Diane Rash Carter, two daughters; Jennifer Curry (Alton) of Benton, Ark., Elizabeth Cooper (Chad) of Maumelle, Ark., and five grandchildren; Katie Curry, Maggie Curry, Carter Cooper, Grayson Cooper, and Colin Cooper, and a large extended family. Visitation will be 10 a.m. Saturday, June 24, 2023 with memorial service beginning at 11 a.m. at First Baptist Church, Hot Springs. In lieu of flowers, donations in Ronnie's memory can be made to Rock Steady Boxing – First Baptist Church Hot Springs, 2350 Central Avenue, Hot Springs, Ark. 71901. Guest may register at

Published June 23, 2023

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