Mary Jo Carter

mary carter

March 22, 1936 ~ October 24, 2023

MaryJo Swan Carter

March 22, 1936 – October 24, 2023

After a long and full life, Mary Jo passed away unexpectedly on October 24, 2023, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.    She was born March 22, 1936, in Mexico, Missouri to Velma (Van Sickel) and Ernest T Swan II, DO.  She grew up in Perry, Missouri, and attended Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, and then graduated from the University of Missouri in 1957 with a BA in Education, where she was a member of the Chi Omega Sorority.
She married James D. Carter, Jr. on August 10, 1957. Mary Jo taught physical education in Missouri until they were transferred to Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany where son Michael & daughter (Sarah) Sally were born.  While stationed in Ramstein they explored Europe in their 1958 VW Bug and 1961 Porsche Cabriolet. They enjoyed many European adventures during their post which led them to return to Europe many times throughout their lives.
After Jim completed his military service they relocated to Pittsburgh, PA in 1961 to work for A.P. Green Refractories. During that time, second son Patrick was born. While in Pittsburgh Jim and Mary Jo became members of the Porsche club and built a small trailer to pull camping gear behind the Porsche to meet up with other Porsche enthusiasts and new friends.
Camping on Assateague Island was a favorite family spot.  After learning to ski in Germany, Mom and Dad started skiing in Pennsylvania teaching Mike & Sally at Seven Springs, Bear Rocks, and other resorts.

When an opportunity to be transferred to Pueblo, Colorado with A.P. Green came up, they jumped at it, and in 1968 Mom and Dad found their forever home in Pueblo, Colorado, and soon had their fourth child, Bill. They jumped into the Colorado lifestyle immediately with backpacking, skiing, hiking, hunting, camping, canoeing, sailing, and perhaps most famously, in 1973 began hot air ballooning with their balloon “Colorado High.” Along with many dear friends, they became the early pioneers of hot-air ballooning in Colorado. Mary Jo was considered the matriarch of the Snowmass Balloon Festival, the longest-running balloon festival in Colorado and she participated just this past September.
Mary Jo was a selfless accomplice on numerous great adventures, many with small kids in tow.  She skied and backpacked at eight months pregnant and carried Bill on her back to many a high mountain campsite. She was a member of the Breckenridge Ski Patrol for four years. She was a certified scuba diver and even swam with whale sharks! She could butcher an elk, a deer, or an antelope, cook trout on a campfire, and be absolutely elegant for a night on the town in 30 minutes or less.
Mary Jo and Jim enjoyed a lifetime of celebrating and traveling the world with friends and family. They were known to co-host some memorable theme parties, with togas, M*A*S*H costumes, Perestroika uniforms, and pig roasts, among others. They made lifelong friends nearly everywhere they went.
Growing up in a small close-knit town, Mary Jo recognized the importance of community and supported this with service to many Pueblo organizations including the local Channel 8 (PBS) annual auction, Service League, Rosemount Museum, and PEO. She was a longtime member of First Presbyterian Church. She was also a devoted yogi and attended yoga classes regularly up until her death.
Like her mother, family was very important to Mary Jo and she treasured family gatherings.   She was a devoted mom, grandmother, aunt, sister, daughter, and friend to many.
Preceded in death by her parents, husband, James D Carter, brothers John V Swan, DO and Ernest T Swan III, sisters-in-law Sarah “Sally” Gall and Lynn Swan,
Mary Jo is survived by her children, J Michael Carter (Christa), Sarah “Sally” Carter Verna (Bret), Patrick Carter (Gina), William Carter (Dana), grandchildren, Drake (Jordyn) & Tennyson Carter, Dakota & Sydney Purkey, Andrew & Benjamin McInnis, Silas & Ean Eske Carter, Elise, Evan & Jack Carter, and bonus grandchildren Bo & Tomasina Verna, Revy Verna Jordan, Jonathon (Kayla) & Opal Verna. She is also survived by numerous nieces & nephews.
Mary Jo is home in heaven dancing with Jim again.   She lived a beautiful life and will be missed by many.  Memorial Service Saturday, November 18, 2023, at 1:00 pm at First Presbyterian Church, Pueblo, Colo. In lieu of food and flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Rosemount Museum, 419 W 14th St, Pueblo, CO 81003


Memorial Service: November 18, 2023 1:00 pm

First Presbyterian Church
220 W. 10th Street
Pueblo, CO 81004


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  1. We are so sorry for your loss, Mary Jo was a very special person. You all our in are thoughts and prayers. Love, Ron and Mary

  2. I love the thought of you and Jim dancing together with those beautiful smiles!

    Mary Jo was a gem! I loved that woman!

  3. CandleImageMary Jo was a beautiful lady inside and out! She always had a smile on her face! She will be missed. Sending prayers and strength to her family.

  4. So sorry to hear of Mary Jo’s passing. It has been several years since I last saw her at yoga class, where she usually outdid those of us many years younger! Mary Jo always shared her smiles and laughter, bringing joy to all those around her. May God’s angels be with all her family as they grieve the loss of their mother and grandmother; watch for those little kisses from heaven when you least expect them to let you know she is watching over you all.👼💗

  5. Hearing the news that Mary Joe has passed was a major blow to the entire Gigoux family. Mostly my mother, Mary Jane. She is crushed as Mary Joe was a major force in her life going back to the 1970s in Pueblo. She will be missed dearly.
    I read the following passage back in 2010. Was relevant then as it is now……

    The winds welcome her with softness,
    The sun blessed her with warm hands,
    She flew so high and so well
    That God, who enjoyed her laughter,
    Has welcome her into his loving arms.

  6. Chapter CI P.E.O. is sorry for the loss of our sister who was a member of our organization for 50 years. Her commitment to supporting women in education has had a lasting effect on many. May you rest in peace and know how fondly you are being remembered.

  7. Mary Jo was a precious lady that always looked so terrific ! I will always remember that cute mom picking me up in the convertible red bug headed to swim practice. Mike Sally Pat and bill you all were blessed by God to have such a beautiful Mom .

  8. CandleImageA great lady and fun to be around. I will miss her. My deepest condolences to Mary Jo’s family. Once more, our community and the world are lesser places without another great lady in them.

  9. CandleImageOur deepest condolences to the family. Mary Jo was one of the sweetest ladies and we feel privileged to have known her and the wonderful Carter family.

  10. CandleImageCondolences, sorrow and a belated goodbye..
    Rest in peace, Mary Jo.
    Have a beautiful re-union with Jimmy.
    Love, hugs to all the Carter Family❤️❤️😪❤️
    Hug, love

  11. CandleImageI am so very sorry to hear of Mary Jo’s passing. I had the honor to get to know her through her volunteerism. She was always so kind and I have very fond memories of her. My thoughts and prayers to her family and friends.

  12. CandleImageBest wishes to the family! Mary Jo was a special person and certainly a loss to all! We will miss her and the smiles she brought to everyone!

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