LIBERTY CENTER - Foster E. “Foss” Carter of Henry County's Liberty Township, a retired charter pilot who flew many area residents to remote fishing locales in northern Canada, died Monday in his home, about two miles north of here. He was 82.
Mr. Carter died of pancreatic cancer, his wife, Thelma, said. He was in declining health for about a year.
He was a charter pilot for the then Crow, Inc., and the former National Cement Products Co. He received his commercial pilot's license in Cadiz, Ohio, in 1960. He was rated to fly a twin-engine amphibian by the Federal Aviation Administration. He retired from commercial aviation in 1981, and then became a charter boat captain on Lake Erie for several years.
Mr. Carter was a native of Sutton, W.Va. He moved to Ohio with his family to work for about two years as an operator and a mechanic on road-building machinery used to construct the Ohio Turnpike after World War II.
He was a mechanic for four years for a construction firm in Archbold before he received his pilot's license and took up commercial flying full-time.
“I was impressed by the fact that with just a ninth-grade education, he got a commercial pilot's license, a real estate license, and a license to be a charter boat captain on Lake Erie,” his son, Carl, said. “He enjoyed fishing and flying, probably fishing the most. He would take people to the Arctic Circle in Canada for a week at a time, sometimes two or three times a month, from May to September, to fish.”
Mr. Carter was a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He served as a rifleman during the battle of Iwo Jima in 1945, his wife said.
He was a member of the American Legion and VFW in Swanton, the DAV in Defiance, the Henry County Sportsman Association, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Flotilla 10-06, and the Elks, and was an active Mason.
After retiring from aviation, Mr. Carter became a skilled woodworker, producing windmills, clock cases, and other items in a workshop at his home. For several years after giving up commercial flying, he operated a 22-foot charter boat from the Toussaint River, near Camp Perry in Ottawa County. He usually took four fishermen at a time out to catch walleye on Lake Erie.
Piloting a Mallard amphibian to remote fishing camps in northern Ontario and Quebec, and landing on lakes and rivers required a special kind of skill usually found only among experienced bush pilots, his son, Dale, said.
“He was in a lot of tough situations, but he always pulled it out. He didn't do any bodily harm to himself or his passengers, and never damaged the airplane,” Dale Carter said.
Mr. Carter was the subject of two Blade stories in the 1970s. In 1971, staff writer Mildred Benson wrote that he had accumulated more than 10,000 hours of flying time. In 1973, Mr. Carter was accompanied to a remote Canadian fishing spot by former Blade Chief Photographer Tom O'Reilly.
Surviving are his wife of 63 years, Thelma; sons, Carl, Gary, Roger, and Dale; daughters, Jannis Blackmon and Deborah Billings; brothers, Daymon and David; sisters, Lenore Greene, Madge Greene, Lydia Oates, Barbara Anderson, and Mary Lowery; 25 grandchildren, and 33 great-grandchildren.
The body will be in the Wright Funeral Home, Liberty Center, after 2 p.m. today, where Masonic services will be at 7:30 tonight. Services will be at 2 p.m. tomorrow in Liberty Chapel United Methodist Church, Liberty Center.
The family requests tributes to the church or the Hospice of Henry County, Napoleon.