George Wayne Carté passed away peacefully in the comfort of his home, surrounded by his wife and four children, Friday, June 28, 2019. He was 78 years old.
George was born in Buhl, Idaho, Sept. 8, 1940, to Harold and Reba (Lammert) Carté. While in college, George worked a summer with a surveyor crew on Kodiak Island. He said it was during that time that he fell in love with Alaska. He transferred to the University of Idaho to complete his bachelor’s degree in geological engineering and after graduation would only consider jobs from the state he would call his home.
George married the love of his life, Katherine (Williams) Carté, Sept. 8, 1962. The couple met at Columbia Basin College after sitting next to each other in a psychology class. The two were married for 56 years and would have celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary this September. They moved from Moscow to Alaska in 1964, where George worked for the U.S. Geological Survey. He later took a post at the Alaska Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer. George served at the Tsunami Warning Center for 30 years as a seismologist, and taught tsunami and earthquake preparedness around the state.
In 1966, the couple celebrated their first of four children, Charles. In 1967, they welcomed Theresa, followed by Jeannette in 1968 and Suzanne in 1973.
Over the years, George served his community in many ways, saying, “I always had the feeling we have an obligation to give back.” After perfect attendance for 10 years, George became chairman of the Palmer Lions Club. He served as a Boy Scout troop leader and spent five years as a scoutmaster. He was heavily involved in youth football and soccer, spending more than a decade training and scheduling referees.
George entered politics, serving on the Palmer City Planning and Zoning Committee and the Mat-Su Borough’s Planning and Platting Board. George took a break from volunteer service to earn his graduate degree, then returned with an appointed seat on the Palmer City Council. A year later, he ran for mayor and was elected in 1981, where he served for 14 years, while working full-time at the Tsunami Warning Center.
During George’s tenure as mayor, he fostered and grew the Sister City Program relationship Palmer had with Saroma, Japan. Many projects took place between the two cities over the years, but George valued educational opportunities for children above all else. Every year, students from Palmer and Saroma travel to meet each other and learn more about the world outside their countries’ borders, broadening horizons and minds. George called it becoming more “internationalized.” After George retired from the Tsunami Center, he and Kathy spent three years in Japan, teaching English to children, a time that was particularly special for both of them.
George was a steadfast Christian. As he advanced in age, he took comfort knowing he was drawing closer to joining his Lord and Savior. The day before he passed, his last words to Kathy were, “I love you; I’m going home.” Kathy believes these words were also meant for his children. The family takes comfort knowing that George is now at peace and is “home.”
George is survived by his wife of 56 years, Kathy (Williams) Carté; son and daughter-in-law Charles (Cyndi) Carté; daughter Theresa Carté; daughter and son-in-law Jeannette (Phil) Seward; daughter and son-in-law Suzanne (Steve) Carté-Cocroft; and grandchildren Mckenzie (Adam) Schueller, Dakota Rudolph, Kason Seward, Megan Seward and Charlie Carté.
An open house to remember George is planned for 2-4 p.m. Sept. 8 in Lewiston. Please call (208) 305-9900 for details. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Palmer Saroma Kai Sister City Program, 716 S. Alaska St., Palmer, AK 99645; or on the Palmer Saroma Kai Facebook page.