Walter E. Carter was born in Carthage in 1884, one of six brothers in the family of John Edwin Carter, a local businessman and farmer, and Prudence Horn Carter. He learned frugality and discipline from his parents, traits that carried him throughout his life. He married Lacie Burham Caffee in 1911, and they raise two daughters, Margaret and Virginia.
For over 50 years, Mr. Carter was known not only in Missouri banking circles, but also in national banking. After attending Carthage schools, he pursued business studies in Quincy, Illinois, and returned to Carthage in 1906 working at Carthage National Bank as a cashier and bookkeeper. By 1912 he had worked his way up through the ranks as teller, assistant cashier, cashier and managing officer. The bank was consolidated with the Bank of Carthage in 1920, and he rose to be president of that institution, one of the oldest banks in the state, in 1929. He led the Bank of Carthage through the Great Depression by sustaining its strong financial structure, even as scores of banks failed in the Midwest. He kept the bank solid during the stress of World War II and throughout the postwar adjustments. Besides the Bank of Carthage, he served as director of the Aurora Bank, the First National Bank of Mount Vernon, the Jasper County Building and Loan Association and the Carthage Loan and Investment Corporation.
Mr. Carter was well respected among Carthage businesses for his sound advice. He assisted numerous local companies such as Smith Brothers Manufacturing and Carthage Marble Corp., and was active in business development. He was very active in banking associations, holding many offices through the years. He served as President of the Jasper County Bankers Association, president of the Group 7 district, and was also President of the Missouri Bankers Association. He was vice president of the American Bankers Association for Missouri and served seven years as a member of the council of administration of the ABA.
He was an officer of Carthage Rotary, and was president of the Carthage Chamber of Commerce. In 1956 Walter E. Carter was recognized and celebrated by his friends and business associates for 50 years of service and leadership in banking and business in Carthage and the State of Missouri. He died in 1959 and is buried in Park Cemetery.