Carter wears many hats
If there is one word to describe Jimmy Carter of Collinsville, it is devoted. Carter and his wife, Tangeryne, have been serving the Collinsville community for over 40 years in every avenue imaginable.
Carter has served as mayor, constable, a member of the rescue squad and fire department and chair of the Veterans’ Memorial Park Project. He and his wife also owned several businesses and ran a handyman service in town.
Having grown up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Carter first visited Collinsville on trips to see his grandparents who moved there in the 1950s. Carter said he always loved the “resemblance to Hometown, USA” that Collinsville holds.
Once he graduated high school, he earned his associate of arts degree in interior design while working for a light company in Florida. As a self-described “sentimentalist”, Carter can tell you all about the day he first met his wife. For him, it was love at first sight. The Carters got married in 1966 and moved to Collinsville themselves in 1970 when he began working for the Tennessee Valley Authority. The couple later became parents in 1977.
It was at this time that the couple opened their businesses in town. They owned and operated a game room on Main Street. The kids who went to the game room in the 80s are now adults with children of their own. Today, Carter said he enjoys hearing from them, saying it “fills my heart because we have had some little positive influence on people.”
Carter got a job as a superintendent at a power plant in Turkey, and the couple moved there in 1990. Even while in Turkey, the Carters formed deep relationships with their new neighbors and became part of the community.
After moving back to Collinsville in 2002, the Carters joined the committee for the Turkey Trot, an annual Thanksgiving celebration held in Collinsville every year. They helped revitalize the tradition and remained on the committee until 2012, the 100th anniversary of the first Turkey Trot. For ten years, Tangeryne also worked in the cafeteria at Collinsville schools.
In 2004, Carter was elected mayor of Collinsville. As mayor, he helped establish the Museum of Collinsville History and made efforts to preserve the town’s historical feel by removing power lines from Main Street. He later served as a volunteer constable for Dekalb County for eight years.
Before leaving office as mayor, Carter established a committee to create a memorial for Collinsville residents who served in the armed forces. With stone sourced from the foundation of a house in Collinsville, the memorial is unique.
Carter can describe the thought and emotion that went into the design and tell the stories of the local veterans whose names are inscribed on bricks at the center of the memorial.The Veterans’ Memorial Park was dedicated on Veterans’ Day, Nov. 11, 2015, when several World War II veterans gathered to raise the flag for the first time. This flag is now housed in the Museum of Collinsville History.
The Carters also worked to preserve several buildings on Main Street and donated other memorabilia to the museum. Preserving history is important to Carter. He said, “It’s been hard convincing some people that we need to save these things for the virtue of saving them.”
Carter noted that the community and history of the town have a way of bringing people together. “We are all a part of Collinsville and a part of each other.”