Germantown Water Tower

Bobby Carter

Superintendent of Streets and Drainage

Bobby Carter, son of Tom Wallace and Shirley Carter, and brother to Billy Carter graduated (1977) from Messick High School in Memphis.  

After high school, he worked at the Park Theatre, in cleaning and concessions, at a time when the top movies were “Jaws” and “Earthquake”. He moved on to work at Pic-Pac Food Store before working for his Dad who installed hardwood floors, “real hardwood” he said. It was some of the hardest work I ever did. For a while everyone wanted carpet, and then everyone returned to hardwood floors.”

On March 26, he walked into Public Works (located under the city’s water tower), and said he was looking for a job in the Street Department. He told them, “I just want a job.” At that time, Jay Hollingsworth was over Public Works, Ray Wright was with the Street Department and Jimmy Johnson was with Utilities.   

David Jones with the Parks & Recreation Department was standing beside him and offered him a job right on the spot. He worked for Parks & Recreation for 17 years and spent much of his time preparing soccer fields. His first day’s work involved busting out the concrete around “Old” City Hall on West Street. There were no air hammers, just picks, and shovels. The shop was in the horse show stalls, and the Animal Shelter was located in an adjacent stall. They often spent time herding animals and swatting flies. 

In that day, Hacks Cross Road was gravel, south of the railroad. Joyner, Heard, Jones leased the city property that the city maintained off Hacks Cross Road for soccer fields. He also remembers doing selective tree cutting in Poplar Estates Park and Cameron-Brown Park. Later, Harvey Faust became Director of Parks & Recreation. 

Bobby was always interested in heavy equipment and an opening became available. Initially, he worked under Sam Beach who ran Public Works, and Ray Wright who was responsible for road work. They would fix soft spots and prepare the road for overlays. Streets that had been annexed from the county were gravel-based, not a soil-cement base. The county roads proved problematic years later. “When garbage trucks stop and start, they contribute roads to wearing down.” They also did curb and gutter work. Typical workdays were from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Bobby would typically arrive at 5:30 a.m. 

One of the more memorable jobs he was involved with was a water main break on Poplar, just west of West Street. Their job was to repair the roadway. “The hole was so deep that they were afraid to put people down in the hole alongside water, sewer, and utility lines.” They worked alongside City Engineer Bill Edwards and Charlie White of White Construction.

Bobby also helped prep the Germantown Charity Horse Show area for the June event. He got to know Bobby Lanier well who could provide him with additional labor through the Shelby County prison system. He said, “Bobby could relate to the working man and he treated people well.” Bobby Carter also fondly remembers his friendship and assistance to Harry & Becky Cloyes of Oaklawn Gardens.

Now, 42 years later, Bobby will be retiring (April 26, 2021) from his as Superintendent of Streets and Drainage, and looks forward to years of crappie fishing at his place in Sardis, MS.  His life with the City of Germantown has been rewarding.

Bobby Carter

Bobby Carter, Superintendent of Streets and Drainage