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James Carter, director of DSHS operations and support division, dies unexpectedly

Post by Brad Shannon / The Olympian on March 4, 2013 at 4:50 pm with No Comments »
March 4, 2013 4:57 pm
Jim Carter
Jim Carter

The Department of Social and Health Services lost one of its division leaders over the weekend. James R. Carter, who was considered the agency’s go-to guy on maintenance, leasing and building-related topics, was director of the Operations Support and Services Division which has more than 400 employees.

Carter was 63 and he died “very unexpectedly” at home, DSHS spokesman Thomas Shapley said. Carter had a previous Army career that earned him the rank of colonel and put him in high-places – including the White House Military Office.

The cause of death, assumed to be health-related, was not yet identified.

In an email sent to all of the mega-agency’s nearly 16,000 workers this morning, chief financial officer Kathy Marshall wrote:

I know I speak for all the folks who have worked with and for Jim over the years he served with this agency that his sudden passing leaves us shocked and saddened. Jim will be sorely missed as a leader, colleague and friend. We were all lucky to have known him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, his family, his friends, and the staff of OSSD and Financial Services Administration.

A military service is tentatively set for Saturday, March 9, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Marshall’s email also said, in part:

Jim, or Carter – to pretty much everyone who knew and worked with him – had been with the Department for nearly 13 years. Jim is survived by his wife of 23 years, Susan; three daughters and a son; two granddaughters and two grandsons; and his mother, Helen. Jim loved golfing, vacationing in Cabo, and celebrating everything there is to celebrate about Christmas.

Jim was the Director of the Operations Support and Services Division within the Financial Services Administration. At the helm of OSSD (formerly the Administrative Services Division) since 2005, Jim assured DSHS programs and staff had the necessary tools needed to focus on their core mission of providing services. Most recently, Jim led OSSD through several shared-services consolidations, which resulted in the division’s growth in staff numbers as well as its influence and reach across the Department.

Jim came to DSHS in 2000 as Kathy Brockman’s Special Assistant within the Economic Services Administration. Prior to joining state service, Jim retired as a colonel from the U.S. Army after a 30-year military career.

Jim was probably not aware of how many lives he touched in his time with the Department. To some he was a mentor, to others he was like a father or brother, and to everyone he was a friend. Jim cared deeply for his staff and wholeheartedly wanted to see each and every one of them succeed. He was a born leader with high expectations who encouraged those around him to pursue excellence. Jim was always willing to “enter the fray” whenever necessary and encouraged his staff to problem solve by “separating the wheat from the chaff.” He was also known as one of the funniest individuals on the face of the planet. Nobody was safe from his dry, sarcastic sense of humor and wit.

Unfortunately, we sometimes only learn and share things about our colleagues after they have left us. I wanted those who have not served in the military to recognize what an accomplishment it is to be promoted to “full-bird” colonel (the next step up is general). Jim served in a number of posts in his Army career, much of it in the Washington, D.C., area, in places such as the Office of Secretary of Defense and the White House Military Office (which provided him the battered but still very cool coffee mug he was often seen with around OB2). Jim also served with the U.S. Pacific Command in Honolulu, Department of Military Affairs in Madison, WI., and finally at Ft. Lewis.

Jim earned a bachelor of arts degree in business administration from Washington State University, a master of sciences degree in business administration at Boston University, and attended the Army War College. …

You can send any cards or letters of condolence to Jim Carter’s Assistant, Stacey Rhodes, at 1115 Washington St. SE, Olympia, WA 98504-5800.

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