Professor, statesman, pilot, commercial fisherman, filmmaker, storyteller and photographer, Jesse Scott Carter was born in Redding in 1939, to Harlan and Barbara Carter. He passed away at his home in Graeagle, from Parkinson’s shortly before his seventy-ninth birthday.
Scott was raised in the family home now known as the Carter House Art Gallery on the banks of the Sacramento River in Redding. He graduated from Shasta High School where he was a student body officer. He attended Menlo College, then transferred to the University of California, Berkeley and graduated with honors in history and political science, followed by a master’s degree in political science with honors from California State University, Chico.
In 1961, Scott and his brother traveled to Alaska in search of adventure and employment in the fishing industry. In his book, 20 Years on Bristol Bay — An Alaskan Odyssey, published in 2011, Scott chronicled his experiences as a crew member on several boats operated by Alaska Packers and eventually the purchase and operation of three of his own vessels. He quickly learned the skills required in the commercial fishing industry, and became concerned about overfishing of sockeye salmon by foreign boats. This concern ultimately became the subject of his full-length documentary film, “Alaska’s Ravaged Red Salmon.”
Scott was hired to teach American History and Government at Shasta College in 1971, retiring in 2005. He always referred to teaching at the college as the “best job on the planet.” He loved interacting with students, many of whom he kept in touch with for years afterward.
Scott qualified for a private pilot’s license in 1977. Only five days after qualification he took off from Redding to Bristol Bay. Since there were no control towers and few other pilots to talk to in the air, he had a CB radio installed and talked to 18-wheel truck drivers along the Alaska-Canadian Highway to determine his position and inquire about the weather ahead. Over the years he owned other aircraft and continued to find reasons to fly throughout the western states, Mexico, and Canada, landing on roads, fields, and beaches as often as on runways.
Public service was always important to Scott. He was elected to the Redding City Council in 1986 and served as Mayor beginning 1989.
In 1996 he married Susan Carroll, who shared his love of flying, travel, and adventure.
He is survived by his wife, Susan Carroll; his son, Oliver Carter; his brother, Ross Carter; his grandson, Harvey Carter; nephews, Douglas, David, Matt and Alex Carter; and nieces, Tessa Carter Sorako, and Sara Carter.
A Celebration of his Life will be held at the Riverview Golf and Country Club in Redding on Saturday, Nov. 17, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.