Cover photo for John Austin Carter's Obituary
John Austin Carter Profile Photo
1946 John 2024

John Austin Carter

April 14, 1946 — January 11, 2024

Sioux City, Iowa

           John Austin Carter passed away on Thursday, January 11, at the age of 77, at Accura HealthCare of Sioux City. Funeral services will be held at St. James United Methodist Church, 2032 S. Cypress St. in Sioux City, on Friday, January 19. Guests can begin arriving at 10am to connect with friends and family, then there will be a service at 11am with a reception to follow in the church’s Fellowship Hall.

            John was born on April 14, 1946 in Alhambra, California to Henry Gordon Carter and Aurolyn Hollingsworth Carter and his older brother Dale. The Carters lived together in California for several years but then moved to Lincoln, NE where John spent the majority of his young life. He graduated from Lincoln Northeast High School in 1964 and Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1968. John came to Sioux City shortly after his graduation and began his teaching career at East Junior, and after 11 years, moved on to North High School where he taught English, humanities, and theatre for 29 years, and then retired in May 2008.

            Theatre, film, art, and local history were all great passions of John’s. During his college years, and after, John was part of the beginnings of the Brownville Village Theatre. BVT began its life in 1967 as a full summer repertory theatre under the leadership of two Nebraska Wesleyan professors, Henry Blanke, the Director of Theatre, and his wife Phyllis Blanke, an Associate Professor teaching costume design. According to The Nemaha County Herald, BVT “...provided students an opportunity to receive first-class professional theatre training.” This is where John developed his skills as well as his vision of theatre and his place in it. BVT still continues today and is one of Nebraska’s oldest repertory theatres. When John began his teaching career in Sioux City, he also continued his own personal work in theatre, not only at the scholastic level, but also in the theatre community itself. He worked with various people from Morningside College, Sioux City Community Theatre, and LAMB Productions.

            Towards the end of his teaching career John turned his attention to film. In 2005, John helped found the Sioux City International Film Festival along with Tim Bottaro, Rick Mullin, Gary Lipshutz, Margot Chesboro, and Joe Case. This festival began as a one-day festival that grew into a four-day international film festival that continues through today. John and Joe Case were instrumental in acquiring the Orpheum as a venue for the festival. The film festival’s vice-president, Greg Giles said,

“[John] was proud of where the event had progressed, from a one-day gathering of film-lovers, to the four-day fest we now present. Surely, he appreciated all the iterations of the SCIFF, since 2005, & we on the board of directors are grateful to all the legwork that John put in, along with the other founders' work, in those early years.”

            After his retirement in 2008, John turned to volunteering. He joined with the Sioux City Art Center with a friend and found a place where he could indulge his love of art as well as help educate the community. John always had an affinity for Grant Wood, the artist of American Gothic. Though this painting is housed in the Art Institute of Chicago, the Sioux City Art Center has “Grant Wood’s Corn Room Mural, a 1926 work that was originally created for the Martin Hotel, one block north of the Art Center.” John was incredibly proud of the Art Center’s acquisition of this mural and used any opportunity to show it to the public. John and a friend were chosen as Docents of the Year 2019-2020.

            John was a great spokesman for preserving Sioux City’s history, so one of his favorite places came to be the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and the Betty Strong Encounter Center. John loved how this group advocated for the inclusion of the local indigenous peoples in Sioux City’s history as well as that of the surrounding areas. He would show visitors around the center, attend programs, and he even taught a class on how to make carrot cake.

John made Sioux City his home and his influences are a part of the city he came to love.


John is survived by his daughter Gretchen Carter, his brother Dale Carter, his niece Pam Carter and her daughter, Kayla.


John was preceded in death by his parents and his uncles Farrell and Wayne Hollingsworth.


Possible Memorial Donations Include:

1. Brownville Village Theatre

Mailing Address: 222 Water St. Brownville, NE 68321

Make checks out to: Brownville Village Theatre


2. Sioux City International Film Festival

Mailing Address: 5006 Sergeant Road PO Box 189 Sioux City, IA 51106

Make checks out to: Siouxland Institute of Film, Inc.


3. Sioux City Art Center

Mailing Address: 225 Nebraska Street Sioux City, Iowa 51101

Make checks out to: Sioux City Art Center


4. Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and Betty Strong Encounter Center

Mailing Address: 900 Larsen Park Road Sioux City, IA 51103

Make checks out to: Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and Betty Strong Encounter Center


On any donations you choose to make, please include the note of: In Memory of John Carter

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Austin Carter, please visit our flower store.


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