[Picture taken on Sunday, June 18, 2000 at the Phoenix NTN Trivia Bash]

(photo courtesy of Phil "POGO" Vassar)

John is the second person from the left -- holding a mug in his right hand.

(photo courtesy of Rob "QBERT" Lake)

DAYTONA BEACH -- John David Carter, whose wry humor and storytelling gifts delighted legions of News-Journal readers for nearly 20 years, died Monday morning as he lived — on the go. While driving home from Jacksonville International Airport, he had an apparent heart attack and he went off I-95 near St. Augustine. He was 60.

Carter, known as "Gonzo" in trivia circles, had just returned from a trivia convention in Phoenix, Ariz. He loved the word and fact game and was a champion at it, winning trips and many prizes pitting his wit and store of knowledge against the best in North America.

He was a proud, fifth-generation native of Florida, steeped in its history, chronicler of its past and little-known towns, folk and byways. Carter would rather tell a story than eat or sleep.

An avid Internet user, who often surfed the Web in the middle of the night, he delighted in e-mailing bizarre news stories to a long list of old friends.

Carter was a doting grandfather, and loving father of three.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Tuesday morning, June 20, 2000, we learned from the posting above that John Carter, a well-known and liked NTN player, had suffered a heart attack and died on his way home from an NTN get together in Phoenix, Arizona. John's untimely passing was a shock to those who had been blessed with his friendship, to those who had known him, to those who'd only hours before had met him for the first time, and to those who had only seen his scores on the NTN leader boards. Still others, may have learned about John for the first time from the many tributes posted on BadBart in the hours following Jamey Kirby's posting of the newspaper story.

As a small tribute to John, I've collected some of the early BadBart posts expressing the shock and disbelief that he could be gone. These posts provide a glimpse of John as seen by others, how special he was to those who knew him, and how well regarded he was within the NTN community.

First, here's a copy of what John wrote in the National West Covina guestbook in August of 1998:

John Carter Referred by Other. Plays NTN at Houligan's,Ormond Bch, Fl & Merk's, New Smyrna Bch, Fl. Signed the guestbook on Aug 23, 1998 at 06:56. Just sayin' thanx to Jason and Don for their help in scoping out the new 900 mhz system. I have forwarded it to some other NTN addicts in my area. Congratulations to your team for the excellent play. If any members of your team are ever in Florida, give us a shout via e-mail, and we'll roll out a seven-course Florida Cracker dinner... (A Possum and a six-pack)... and play some triv. Also... great Web Page.... Y'all done good! Gonzo a.k.a. Aggiedaddy on AOL

Second, here's a copy of what John posted to BadBart earlier this year when Keith Donnelly passed away:

R.I.P. MR DATA by John Carter

Never had the good fortune to meet MRDATA, but have read what y'all said about him.... Thanks to all previous posts for the marvelous insight....

Sorry to lose a great person, magnificent triv player and all-around good guy.... Condolences and kind wishes to his family. Dr. Gonzo

Extremely bad GONZO news

Hello all,

I hate to have to be the one to report this, but I just got word from a friend of mine that works with John "GONZO" Carter that GONZO passed away Monday morning. Apparently he had a heart attack while driving home from Jacksonville after returning from the BASH.

I for one will greatly miss him, as I am sure all who had ever met him will. On top of being the best damn trivia player I ever played with, he was a wonderful, entertaining and warm person. I am still taken aback by this news.

Jamey Kirby (plays NTN at several locations in Florida)

Extremely bad GONZO news

This is a dark year for us. First Keith and now John.

John was a fine man. I am thankful to have met him personally, if only once. It was a great pleasure to talk and play trivia with him, as very many of us know firsthand.

God keep you, John. Show them how to play a good game up there.

Ron Philo (plays NTN at Johnny's in Overland Park, Kansas)

Extremely bad GONZO news

What a nice man John was - what a terrific trivia player, also.

CLIPPR (Peter Bauer of the Chicago Illinois area)

Extremely bad GONZO news

I send my condolences to all of Gonzo's friends and family. I will certainly miss him here on Bad Bart. I will share this news tonight at Durkins

Rebel (plays NTN at Durkins in Columbia, South Carolina)

Extremely bad GONZO news

I'm absolutely devastated. He had just left us, and seemed fine. He was pretty much the life of our party here, stopping the joke telling only long enough to shout out correct answers that no one else knew. He and I have traded e-mails off-line several times a week since I met him at last year's Tampa Bash. He transcended acquaintance and trivia compatriot. He was my friend.

Jared McHatton (plays NTN in the Phoenix Arizona area)

Extremely bad GONZO news

My condolences to John Carter/GONZO's family and friends. I finally got a chance to meet him at the Phoenix Bash last weekend. We didn't talk very much to each other, but it was obvious he was enjoying himself at the Bash. He was smiling throughout and laughing, and that's how it should be.

And that's how we should all remember him by.

Rest in peace, John. Say hello to Keith Donnelly/MRDATA and the other dearly departed NTN'ers up there.

Steven (SEKA), agreeing that it's a tough year for NTN players. Sacramento, CA

Extremely bad GONZO news

I'm speechless... Gonzo was a great guy... He took many pitcures here at the Bash in May, and e-mailed them throughout... He seemed like he was always having a great time! I just don't know what else to say... It is a sad day...

Bill (owns the Bilmar Station in Tampa Florida)

Extremely bad GONZO news

One of the last things GONZO arranged with me is the email of pictures taken in Phoenix. Shock, dismay, and extreme sadness overwhelm me and Didi at this news.

Extremely bad GONZO news

Total shock and disbelief. I don't have the words to express the sadness at hearing this news. We were all playing trivia together two days ago. In fact, he was the 2-man team partner with my son DRAGON. All I can do is add my voice to the many who have already posted. My deepest sympathy to his family and friends.

Sid Crawford, BLUMAX

Extremely bad GONZO news

I am sitting here in complete shock and dismay at this unexpected bad news.

I had the pleasure of meeting GONZO at the Phoenix Bash. It is a memory I shall now cherish.

The man was warm and gentle. He had the knack of telling a story that is an indicator of a master of the craft. His comic timing was impeccable, making even old Aggie jokes uproariously funny.

Considering the fact that he was instrumental in many of the FamSam 31 first place finishes throughout the Bash weekend, I think it is fair to say he went out as a Champion.

May you rest in peace, good sir,


Ken Zeringue (Ken plays NTN in the Albuquerque NM area)

Extremely bad GONZO news

I am shocked to hear that Gonzo is gone. I echo the sentiments of many others when I say that I'll miss his reasoned and thoughtful postings to Badbart. Although, I never met John in person, he was someone that I respected and enjoyed from afar. It would have been a pleasure to have been able to meet him but that wasn't to be.

Speaking for myself and, I'm sure, the rest of the National West Covina team, condolences to John's family as well as the many others (trivia players, BadBart members, newspaper buddies, etc.) who were part of his large extended family. It is, indeed, a very sad day.

Take care, Don (plays NTN at NWC in West Covina CA)

Extremely bad GONZO news

Those coastal Florida bars that rule the Countdown and Wipeout boards may not be seen as often now. At the Bash, I sat with POGO, DR ROB, AIRKEV, ZIRCON and BIG J. At the next table was GONZO (wearing that Aggie jersey), TENPIN, LANCE and P R I. GONZO was buying pitchers for the group on Sunday for Glory Daze, before the banquet. We traded zingers all weekend long as he spun story after story. Never an untoward word (pause for tears) and always a smile.

TP (Bill "Total Package" plays NTN at Grand Slam in Washington DC)

Extremely bad GONZO news

"Bob Blake" <jjbbob@t... wrote: < I am in shock...John was one really great fellow. Oh, man... "Ron Philo" <rphilo@k... wrote: < It was a great pleasure to talk and play trivia with him, as very many of us know firsthand. "Peter J. Bauer" <pbauer@u... wrote: < What a nice man John was - what a terrific trivia player, also. "Steven Watanabe" <stevenhw@l... wrote: < He was smiling throughout and laughing, and that's how it should be. And that's how we should all remember him by. That was certainly how it was Sunday morning at just before 11:00 A.M. when the two of us banged down the door at FS 31 to start another day. Certainly, no indication...never mind. liljol, unable to add much else...

(Joel lives in the San Diego CA area but plays NTN anywhere that it is offered on the planet)

Extremely bad GONZO news

man this is a shock, i met GONZO for the first time this weekend. he was a great guy, hilarious. all around nice guy.

this is terrible

bobby(LEWSER/MENSA) heart goes out to his family and friends, this really sucks

(Bobby plays NTN in the Denver Colorado area)

Extremely bad GONZO news

Dear God, who is next? My finest memory of John: Last year, on the Thursday after the Bash, I had agreed to come to John's home bar for a few games before I headed out the next day...John found out it was my birthday, and proceeded to buy me dinner and all the drinks I had for the evening...what a guy! This just plain sucks. I'm starting to lose my belief in the concept of a benevolent God.

HUSKER (somewhere in Iowa)

Who wonders is Heaven shouldn't be ranked #1 now

Extremely bad GONZO news

I never was lucky enough to meet him, but while sorting my email, I found the email that GONZO sent me a couple of weeks ago telling me about about his Siamese, Prissy, who like Cleo had also succumbed to kidney disease. It was a very sweet message, and I hope with all my heart that John and Prissy have at last been reunited.

My condolences to his family, friends, and trivia teammates.

AARDVK (Houston Texas)

Extremely bad GONZO news

I am absolutely devastated. I can't really say any more than that. I hardly met him this past weekend at all, and I regret that. If anyone has a chance, visit There is a story about John, and a link to a tribute page where you can leave your thoughts on this tragic loss.


Extremely bad GONZO news

I suddenly realized that I have never known his address. Can anyone tell me that, or give me info on the funeral arrangements? I want to attend or at least send something.

Jared/P R I (plays NTN at Famous Sam's in Phoenix Arizona)

Extremely bad GONZO news

John Carter was one of the kindess, nicest men I have ever had the priveledge to know. He visited here to play trivia at Ichobods several times and was planning a trip soon to play with me at Durkins. He was the best. We talked almost daily. I cheerish the time we got to spend in Tampa. I will cheerish the poems he sent to me. It is a sad day. I don't know what to say or do. He will be missed greatly.

Karen (plays NTN at Durkins in Columbia SC)

Extremely bad GONZO news

I had the privilege to meet GONZO in February, 1998 when I was in Daytona Beach for a holiday. We spent several evenings playing NTN at Houligan's and Flip Flop's. We also played two rounds of golf together. He was an outstanding host and we became good friends. The last time I saw him I issued an invitation for him to visit Edmonton for a reciprocal golf and NTN visit. Sadly, that will now never occur.

Although I seldom see rankings from Florida during the hours I play, I know all future national individual rankings will be missing a name highly regarded by myself and many others up here. He was a fine NTN player and a first class gentleman.

My condolences to GONZO's family and his circle of NTN friends.

Rob Lake (QBERT @ Inglewood in Edmonton Alberta)

Extremely bad GONZO news

Our condolences to John "GONZO" Carters' immediate and extended families, particularly to those here who have lost a good friend. We met only last month in Tampa, on a sunny day that seemed to promise we would meet again. Tonight we salute "GONZO", I will be using his handle thru the evening, and toasting him on his way to a better place.

Dogbyt and the Crew @ R J Gators / PSL

Extremely bad GONZO news

I can't really add anything to the tributes to GONZO. The rest of you are far too eloquent. I will only say that he visited us and impressed everyone. He even sent my friend ANGEL a Merk's tee shirt, which meant alot to her since her last name is Merkle. He kicked my ass in nearly every NTN game we played that night. I am extremely competitive and don't like coming in second, especially to visitors, but I did not mind losing to John. He was that nice. I will play under GONZO myself tonight. Hope I put up a good enough score to get out. Sarge (Mark in Alabama)

Extremely bad GONZO news

Well, I was going to post about our 4-box team's relatively successful effort in Sports IQ last night, but it doesn't seem to matter much about now.

Like Sarge, I don't think anything I can say here could add much to what's already been said about our friend John. The fact that so many have already had so much good to say about him in this forum speaks volumes about the man. I think I would consider my life a great success if even a small fraction thought of me so highly when my time comes.

And if I may be so self-indulgent to say, it makes me even sadder that I had to abruptly cancel my plans to attend the Phoenix Bash.

I was fortunate to first meet John when I was in Florida last year, when I joined Tati and some others from Altamonte to drive to Merk's for a few games, shortly before the first Bash. I was surprised to find that he and my father had known each other back in the '70s when both were newspapermen in the central Florida area, and we shared many great stories (his 10 for every one of mine). No doubt that he was one of the trivia greats I've ever played with, but that is secondary to the fact that he instantly became fast friends with everyone I saw him meet (at the first Tampa Bash).

And after all, the friendship aspect is as important as the trivia, isn't it? Otherwise, we'd as likely be at home playing Buzztime or some such every day instead of hitting our local NTN joint. Perhaps the loss of our friend may keep us mindful of what really matters when we forget that our petty concerns about references, monkeyshines, network glitches and such, are just that.


Raising a glass of Coke/no ice to my good friend John

(Kevyn of the Portland Oregon area)

Extremely bad GONZO news

I am stunned and saddened by this news. After having just met him over the weekend and now this. Gonzo was one of the few who took time to directly respond to me. My condolences go out to his family and personal friends. He was a nice man and great Trivia and QB1 player. Deepest regards, ak

Extremely bad GONZO news

Needless to say, I'm in shock as well.

A quick glance of my old e-mail finds John's old blues posts (from last summer) in my box. We are all blue today...

POMAN, who will play as GONZO this week as well...

On Sat, 28 Aug 1999, John Carter wrote:

by Blind Lemon Gonzo

My box is out of range
and I doan know what to do
My box is out of range
and I doan know what to do

Boss man done re-set the system
but it still too drunk to screw
I come in Monday evening,
but the bar play QB1
Oh, I dropped by Monday eve'nin
and the bar, it play QB1

Ain't no trivia in town nowhere
Ain' no way to have no fun

Lookin' for that heaven
where the monkeys never shine
Searchin' fo' that par-a-dise
where them monkeys they don't shine

They say it's number fo'
Might as well be nine

I rack up one near per-feck
and I wan' the whole world to see
I hit a sco' near perfeck
and I hope the whole world will see

But when the sco-board showin'
I got beat by DAVETV

I bet half my Showdown
on that lowdown number five
I put down half my Showdown
on that turkey number five

But that quiet man in the corner
Sandbag me, he shuck and jive

So now you heard my story
it's a old song sad and true
my box still out of range
and I doan know what to do

I got those
flea.......... bitten hound
bull dozin'
finger fartin'
brain lockin'
(pause for effect)
double dealin'
woman stealin'
plain old
Zealot playin'
'Bused News sayin'
Playback prayin'
Spo'ts trivia layin'
Monkey shinin'
(Another pause for effect as crowd screams old black church cliches from the audience)
those a** bucket, mother-f***in' long haul truckin'
Sandbagger's BAL-ue-Hooooooos......

Extremely bad GONZO news

I, too, wish to add my name to those who are saddened by the new of GONZO's death. I was extremely pleased to finally meet a man whose Badbart postings had always been insightful and delightful, and nearly always to the point. At least I had the opportunity to tell him that personally at the Bash. RIP, Doctor.

Chuck Sowder--PROF

Extremely bad GONZO news

I just got home from Tuesday night Trivia and read this email. I am very seriously crying right now, because I had the opportunity to meet this man in Tampa, and this is very sad news. Apparently, he was on his way home from the Bash in Phoenix when this happened.

My condolences to his friends and family. Oh my God, I just hate to hear things like this. John was an extremely nice man, great personality, a great trivia player, and will be missed by all.

Syl (Sylvia of the Delaware area)

Feeling very sad tonight

Extremely bad GONZO news

I'd been meaning to post about what a great time we'd had in Phoenix this weekend. All the great people we'd met, and re-met...

Neither Beth nor I had read any of today's posts before we started playing tonight. But when we saw two GONZO's show up after Showdown, one from Nick and the other from Mirage, well....the badbart MRDATA tribute was too fresh in our minds for us not to worry.

Then came GONZO's from Durkins, and a place called Philly's...we weren't familiar w/that name, so we watched closely the next time thru...oh, it's Phoenix...'nuther bad sign...

Then Catbirds, the next game or the game after...

So we were prepared, when we signed on...

Barely, BARELY, met the man. We were kind of off to the side the whole time, and didn't really get to know him. No fault of his, there was nothing unapproachable about him. I wish I'd known it was the last chance we'd have to talk with him, but that's a regret that's been heard before, hasn't it?

Nothing much to add. Wish I could add more, i.e. wish I'd

Dave (Mr ALE of the Long Beach CA area)


Unfortunately I never had the pleasure of meeting Gonzo. My condolences to his family and friends. But it sounds like he had just returned from doing something he truly loved with a lot of close friends, and that is important. In today's hectic lifestyle, people don't take enough time to stop and smell the flowers. It sounds like he did and that he enjoyed life. It's too short to sweat the small stuff.

I expect heaven to consistently rank in the top 5 every game now with Gonzo's brain power added to Keith playing 8 boxes! We'll miss you guys!

BO (Chris Gum of the Addison Texas area)

Got an addition, a correction, or a comment? Please contact Don Denton.