Peter Carter’s Legacy

Like all the portraits Carter took of friends or people who attended events he chronicled, San Jose has never looked better. “It’s a panorama of ten or so shots stitched together in Photoshop with a nice sky dropped in and a special filter applied to give it a painted quality,” Carter explained. “There’s an eight or nine foot enlargement of it up in the rear lobby of the Chamber of Commerce.”

Peter was a founding investor of the media group that operates San Jose Inside, helping to get both the Los Gatos Weekly and Metro started, which grew into two newspaper groups and spun off a digital media company.  Carter’s work lives on in the header that comes up every time a URL is displayed—more than 1 million times over the past 14 months.

Peter was politically active and hosted a fundraiser for Meg Whitman when she ran for governor of California, and a “passing of the torch” party with congressional representatives Anna Eshoo and Mike Honda when congressional district boundaries changed.

Peter’s son Scott Carter, a technology entrepreneur, posted a touching tribute on Facebook yesterday. Here’s an excerpt:

He didn’t like the limelight, but seemed to thrive on taking pictures of it. He loved a party, and while there were rare occasions where he would be the life of the party (he never liked being the center of attention), he thrived on being the host. It wasn’t unusual for him to have three cocktail parties or fundraisers at his house in a given week.

He cared deeply about people, and that is how he started the Los Gatos Social Club. Pat O’Laughlin was a lifelong friend. Pat was suffering from a very debilitating disease, so my father would get together with him and Michael Kilkenny for cocktails and dinner at The Cats every Wednesday night. As time went on, more and more people would be invited to join them. While the original purpose was to help a friend in need, it morphed into an excuse for him to have his friends over for cocktails and then trek on up to The Cats for a steak. After several years, Pat passed away, and a new goal emerged, “to make Wednesdays the funnest day of the week.”

The Social Club was a huge win for my father. He now had a party every Wednesday, he had a forum for creating a party for every occasion (Halloween, Super Bowl, etc.), and it gave him an opportunity to show off his writing skills. His biweekly emails about upcoming social club events were fun, witty reads, littered with inappropriate humor and pictures of everyone having fun. He loved writing them.

My father enjoyed politics, and while he wasn’t shy about blasting the Democratic Party for this or that, it never stopped him from supporting the candidate that he thought was going to do the most good for the community. When Los Gatos was redistricted from Mike Honda to Anna Eshoo, he was able to get both members to spend the evening with the Los Gatos Social Club for a Passing of the Torch party.

He cared deeply about his family. His grandchildren were the apple of his eye. Grandpa’s house was filled with candy, all of it bowls that can be reached by any child old enough to walk. While he was always a happy person, the joy on his face as he was spoiling the girls was unmatched. As much as he loved throwing a party, I know that he loved taking them to Powell’s and giving them presents even more.

His love for Dennise was obvious to us all. A woman who shares his passion for giving to others and caring for the community, she has dedicated most of her life to starting and growing nonprofits. She is probably the only person on the planet willing and capable of being the hostess as often as he wanted to be the host. She brought tremendous joy to my father’s life, and words will never express the feelings of gratitude and love that I feel for her.

My Father believed that the essence of a good party was good food and libation. While he was stunned when he won the “So you think you can cook with garlic” competition at the Gilroy Garlic festival last year, I was not. His food was fantastic, and he did it for years in a kitchen that didn’t seem big enough to cook for eight, never mind the 60 plus people that were a regular event at 45 Broadway.

Libation was never in short supply, his famous Manhattans were the hit of so many parties. The recipe can be found at

My family truly appreciates the outpouring of love from the community. There will be a service in his honor in the Mission Church at Santa Clara University on April 6 at 11am.


One Comment

  1. First and foremost, Peter was a connector.  He was the engine behind (but seldom in front) of many political careers.  I remember Peter introducing me to Chuck Reed, then a downtown lawyer who had yet to run for office, and telling me afterward that I had just met a future mayor.  He introduced me to two of my best friends.  He introduced me to my last husband.  He introduced me to Famous Manhattans.  Peter will be sorely missed.