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Life story
January 12, 1932

Jack Ecton Carver

Born:  Lamar, Colorado – January 12, 1932

  • Graduated Lakewood High School, 1950
  • Graduated University of Denver in 1954 with a degree in Political Science and a double minor in International Relations and Radio/Television.  Attended on a Scholarship.
  • Graduate work in Mass Communications in 1962 – 65.

While attending Denver University, in 1950 he started in the business as a staff announcer on KFEL radio.  KLZ Radio president Hugh B. Terry then recruited Jack to work in the mail room at KLZ Radio in the Shirley Savoy Hotel. He convinced Carver he had a chance to move into television soon. His duties also included training for the TV business. In early 1953 he became a TV cameraman and ran camera on KLZ-TV 's first broadcast day in November 1953.

From 1954 to 57, Carver moved up to  producer-director of  key programs on the station, including the popular Sheriff Scotty show, and the #1 rated 10 PM News with Carl Akers, Starr Yelland, and Warren Chandler.

In 1955 he was Producer/Director for CBS News feeds during President Dwight D. Eisenhower's heart attack and hospitalization in Denver. Carver was the first to direct major remote television events in Colorado, including the first NFL football game in Colorado, the 1961 NCAA hockey playoffs for CBS from DU arena, and was CBS liaison for FIS ski jumping championships from Steamboat Springs.

In 1957, he was appointed Production Manager at Channel 7. 

Carver and Jerry Vondergeest founded JPI, a film and TV company in 1958. From 1962-65 he also became the broadcast liaison for the Denver University Centennial, producing four 1-hour specials for DU that aired on KLZ-TV.

During this time, he also wrote and produced "Land of Legend", a TV series on Colorado History during the Rush to the Rockies Centennial, which was a DuPont award winner. Carver also wrote and published a book about making the TV series, also titled "Land of Legend."

Returning full time to JPI, he produced syndicated television advertising campaigns for public utility companies around the western part of the country.

His Denver based JPI Productions traveled the country shooting and producing horse shows and rodeos. He built a TV remote van that was used to shoot and produce “Horsetales” and "America's Horse," a TV series that aired on TNN.  Later he produced Horses USA, TV programs that aired on Prime Sports Network.

During his career JPI was winner of over 120 local, national and international awards including two international TV Commercial Festival awards,

From 1997 to 2000 Jack was the Senior Vice-President of TV and Video for Cowles Magazines. He coordinated production of weekly TV newscasts on the Cable TV business to TCI employees around the nation.

Jack Carver retired at age 68 in 2000.

The following are excerpts from an autobiography written by Jack, at the request of his children, in the weeks before he passed away …

 On Growing Up

“My fifth summer, my Dad, Mom and I drove all through the Colorado Mountains while my dad tried to find work. He had been a dry land farmer in Eastern Colorado and had lost everything to the dust bowl and the grasshoppers. Additionally, I had been diagnosed as an asthmatic and the only cure the doctors had to suggest then was to move to the mountains. I realize now that this was a critical period in our lives. We were literally broke and had nowhere to turn. The effects of the depression were still evident and work was not to be found....especially for an ex farmer with no other skills. We got a telegram at a motel in Hot Sulphur Springs from my Uncle telling my Dad that if we could be in Cortez in three days, there might be a job on a Colorado State surveying crew. We made it and my Dad got the job. How, when he had no experience in that field, I’ll never know. We spent that summer in a motel in Cortez and I learned to whistle and to blow bubbles with bubble gum.

That fall we moved to a motel in Golden and my Dad continued his work on highway surveying including the tunnels up highway 6. I had a pet goose named Jerry who was the best “watchdog” that ever lived. I spent hours rolling skating around a concrete patio on my clip on skates.

First grade took us to another motel at Colfax and Garrison. I’d acquired a dog named Buddy that had been abandoned as a puppy at my Grandmother’s farm near Lamar. He would join me when I went prowling through a cat tail laden swamp just a half block away and keep busy killing every rat he could catch. He’d sit in the window every day at 3:00 waiting for me to come home from school.

I spent some of each summer with my mother and grandparents on the farm where my Granddad taught me to fish with long cane poles. The bull heads were great eating and my Granddad even ate the carp, which says a lot for his patience. I also learned to hunt. I had my own single shot 410 and one morning, with a very lucky shot, bagged a Bob White. When I took it proudly to my Grandmother (Nana, as we called her) she practically took my head off. “There’s only one covey of quail on this farm and they are not to be hunted, ever!” It was the first and last time I shot a wild bird. It was here that I learned gardening and canning and milking cows and butchering. Life on the farm was, for the most part, self-sustaining. They grew their own food, preserved it for the winter, and sold alfalfa and wheat for money to buy seed for the following year, food staples, clothing (what they didn’t make themselves) and farm equipment. I also learned a lot about the viciousness of nature....watching hail storms flatten crops that were nearly ready to harvest, crouching in the fruit cellar waiting for the radio to tell us that the tornado had passed over and it was safe to come out, rushing home from an afternoon movie in town when we saw the towering black clouds in the west, harbingers of a dust storm to come. I remember the mad rush to close up the house, get the animals into the barns, and hunker down till it was over; then the cleaning up around the window sills and doors of the powdery, red silt.

We'd pretty much lived in motels 1st thru 3rd grades. 4th grade was in a one room basement apartment. The chance to rent 5 acres with a two bedroom house and barns came up on W. 38th Avenue. My Dad grabbed it. Four years later they put it up for sale for $3,500.00. My mother and I begged him to try and buy it but he wouldn't hear of it. By now we'd acquired three horses and my dad had a friend who owned a dairy at 8th and Wadsworth with a little two bedroom house and the use of the barns.  When we moved to 38th, I changed schools from Lakewood to Prospect Valley. 

Living on five acres on west 38th gave me my first chance to own a horse. In the spring of 5th grade my Dad told me he thought I was old enough to have my own. Off we went to the Denver stockyards to a horse auction....me dreaming a huge black stallion snorting fire, my Dad’s expectations somewhat more practical in scale. As we sat on the top rail of a fence overlooking the auction  ring, a little brown mare who had already sold kept coming up behind me and nuzzling me, wanting to be petted. My Dad remarked that if we had been there when she sold we might have bought her. Hardly the black stallion I had envisioned but, by then, I had already fallen in love with her. When the sale ended, we went looking for the purchaser who was more than happy to turn the twenty dollars he’d paid for her into twenty five; a quick profit; and I had my horse. I called her Beauty (not black beauty, since she was brown) and she was my dearest friend from that moment till I graduated high school and went to college.

I had my first job in 6th grade, hopping a milk truck with my Dad, leaving home at 4:00 AM, returning at 8:00 in time to get to school. I worked either before or after school and in the summers continually until I retired in 2000. Hoeing fields, in a gas station at Colfax and Wadsworth, sorting scrap rubber left over from the war drive, distributing advertising material for “Popsicle Pete”, parking cars at Downtown Buick, and, finally, starting in the mail room at KLZ Radio. I left there in 1961 after serving as a television cameraman, producer-director, and Production Manager to start my own production company which I ran for the next 30+ years. None of the above included, of course, the home chores that I had to do all the way through high school which involved feeding the horses and cows and milking from two to four dairy cows every morning and night. Before school in the mornings: after football practice in the afternoon.

I remember meeting every Tuesday night at the Grange at 44th and Youngfield during the war. Us kids, ranging in age from 10 to 14 were dispersed around the neighborhoods. A message was given to one of us at the Grange who then ran to the next contact point, passed on the message, etc., until the last one of us returned to the Grange and repeated the message. As I recall, we were never ever close to the original. This was to prepare us for messenger service if the country was attacked and lost all radio and telephone communications.

The headline announcing the dropping of the A-bomb came as a real shock. I remember reading it in the Rocky Mountain News.

Prospect Valley school was a far cry from Lakewood. It consisted of two rooms; one for 1st through 4th grades; one for 5th through 8th. My class consisted of three boys and three girls and I probably learned more by rushing to get my work done so I could listen to what the teacher was teaching the 7th and 8th grades.

Returning to Lakewood as an 8th grader, I discovered that I had missed out on a lot of early athletic experience....and a lot of social interaction. While I was learning to ride horses, chop wood, garden, and milk cows, my new friends had been playing basketball, football, and baseball. They had also been going to parties and learning how (as much as the male can) to interact with girls. Looking back on that time, I realize that I was readily accepted into the group but, at the time, I was filled with insecurities. I had never owned nor ridden a bike and was embarrassed that I had to either walk or ride “Beauty” in order to get somewhere....whereas everyone else rode their bicycle. I found out years later that most everybody envied me my horse but I didn’t realize it at the time.

I liked playing tennis and convinced the school to start a tennis team as a spring alternative to track....which started me on a lifelong love of tennis.

Growing up without television, I was an avid reader. That and radio, which also required that one use his imagination, seems to have developed a creative desire within me. I was intrigued by the theater and writing. I decided very early in my high school life that I wanted to attend the University of Denver because they were one of the few colleges with a mass communications major, offering classes in radio, television (still largely experimental at that stage), and theater. I knew that even going to college depending on getting a scholarship since my parents certainly lacked the money to send me.  I managed to score seventh highest in the DU exam, good for a half tuition, two year ride at DU.   I started at DU and by the second quarter of my freshman year had a part time job at KLZ Radio paying 90 cents an hour, twenty hours per week. Summers were full time and I was working in my field of interest.

I faced a crossroads in the fall/winter quarter of my senior year. I had discovered that I was learning more valuable information about broadcasting by working in it and had changed my major to Political Science with minors in International Relations and Radio/TV. I applied for and was accepted to take the foreign state exam for admission to the diplomatic corps, which certainly held a lot of appeal for me. The problem? It was scheduled for the same day as the KLZ=TV first day of broadcasting and I was one of the cameramen for that....something I’d spent four years shooting for and planning on. Tough choice. There was no guarantee that I’d pass the Foreign Service exam and no certainty on my part that, if I did, I’d rather spend my life in that career as opposed to broadcasting. My final decision, obviously, was to skip the Foreign Service and stick to broadcasting. I might have ended up as a hostage in Iran, who knows.

So I learned to play tennis in high school. I, along with Bob Jankovsky and Sonny Carlson, learned to fly fish and have spent many wonderful hours of my life in that pursuit.

The thirties, for me, was a time of uncertainty; of never living in one place more than a year at a time.  And while I don’t think I fully appreciated the seriousness of it, I know that the traumas faced by my parents. The loss of their farm in Eastern Colorado to the dust bowl had a profound effect on my dad. He simply lost confidence in himself....and never really regained it. Having to create a new life for themselves and for me in or close to the mountains was certainly a hardship. The year before he died, we took my Dad to Lamar and Wiley along with all his Grandkids so he could show them where he grew up. I taped his comments as we stood looking over the remains of the “home place”, now just a crumbled foundation surrounded by giant cottonwoods.

“Right out there, about 100 yards is a brand new harrow. The sand just drifted over it and buried it. I’m sure it’s still there. I’m probably the only one who even knows it.” Those were tough times survived by tough people. While I have no distinct impressions of the effect of the depression, I am well aware of how it structured my life. My Dad never bought another piece of property until I finally talked him into it during my college days. He was simply frightened to make that kind of commitment. The message from that decade: poverty and hard work.

The forties were schizophrenic. The fear and depression years. The euphoria following. The message was still one of hard work, in both parts of the decade. Our financial situation had improved marginally but I still was expected to carry my own weight around the house (farm?) as well as achieve in school. The war forced everyone into life style changes and required extra work and responsibility from us all. The prosperous years following the war caused us each to dream of a better future and to work as hard as we could to achieve it.

The Korean war was, of course, the curse of the fifties. I joined the Navy Reserve (deciding that I’d rather have no place to sleep than sleep in a foxhole), was called to active duty during my freshman year at DU and bumped to inactive reserve upon the discovery of my asthmatic history (and some scarring on my bronchial tubes). It was, at once, a great relief and a major disappointment. 

The rest of the century, for me and my family, has been a time mostly of great successes. I was successful in my chosen field, both financially and emotionally. I had some romantic difficulties but all worked out for the best. I have some wonderful children, step children, and grandchildren.

I was married to Dorothy for 3 years and we had our son Jeff.  Then I met Barb.  We were married for 15 years and had Jenny and Kim.  Finally, I met my soul mate, Bonnie who had two sons, Brian and David and we have been married for 34 wonderful years.”

On Horses

“It occurs to me that, while most of us from the class of fifty followed a completely different lifestyle from that of our parent(s), that it was more a result of changing times than of having different interests and abilities. In my particular case, I grew up around animals, particularly horses, with a father who was probably one of the most astute judges of horse conformation and intelligence I ever met. While I didn’t fully appreciate this while growing up (who of us did?), I became aware of it as I grew older. And the acorn never falls far from the tree. In a less rapidly changing society, I probably would have been a horse trader or trainer. I remembered a particular interesting story the other day. When I was in college, I went home for the weekend to help my Dad repair some fence. Digging post holes, stretching wire and sweating profusely, I remarked: “This is one of the reasons for going into broadcasting....so I won’t ever have to work on a fence or have anything to do with horses.” My Dad made no comment.

In the mid-seventies, I wrote and directed a ninety minute television special called Horsetales.  The sponsor was Public Service Company of Colorado. The production took us all over the US, from the bucking horse auction in Montana to the turf at Churchill Downs. My knowledge of horses served me well. We later blew the film up to 35mm and “four-walled” in theaters throughout the western states. While working on the production, we met several representatives of the American Quarter Horse Association. Several years later, they became one of our major clients and I spent much of each year producing educational and promotional films about the Quarter Horse.

In 1982, my company was hired to produce an historical film about the life of Walter Merrick, the breeder and owner of Quarter Horse’s most productive racing sire, Easy Jet. Part of the payment for the production was a breeding fee to this great stallion, a value of about $50,000. Through my Quarter Horse Association contacts, I was able to acquire a partner with a well bred mare. We co-owned the resulting colt 50-50. The plan was to sell him as a yearling, but the market had deteriorated due to the recession in oil prices; oil men having been the big buyers of race horses; so we decided to run him ourselves.

We found Bob Baffert for a trainer (now in thoroughbreds and the winning trainer of three of the last four Kentucky Derbies) and ran the colt, Jet Rich Man, at Los Alamitos in California. During his three-year-old year, Baffert talked to us about claiming a two year old filly that he thought would make a great runner, even though she’d shown little so far in her career. In the first six weeks that we owned her she ran out two firsts and a seventh in the Ed Burke Futurity, more than paying for herself. When we retired her after her three-year-old year my partner and I had a discussion about which stallion to breed her to. She was about half Thoroughbred and I felt that we needed to get back to some good basic Quarter Horse genes, so we opted for a horse called Three Ohs Wild, standing in Phoenix.

The resulting foal, a colt, Wild Victory, won three major futurities and was nominated as the year’s best Quarter Running Gelding. All the racing pundits raved about what a brilliant choice it was to breed his mother (Call A Victory) to Three Ohs Wild. They pointed out how the cross between certain great Thoroughbreds in her family tree and other great Quarter Horses of the past in his had resulted in this great runner. My partner and I were considered breeding geniuses. What it really was: luck and a touch of basic horse sense that I had obviously absorbed from my Dad over all those years of growing up with him pointing out good and bad things about the horses we raised and/or broke. 

Unfortunately, my Dad died in 1982 before he had a chance to enjoy all the fun I had in horse racing. But, we had a most remarkable conversation the day I told him about getting the breeding fee to Easy Jet. He looked at me, smiled, and said: “One of your biggest clients is the American Quarter Horse Association and now you’re going to be part owner of a race horse. Doesn’t seem to me that you’ve gotten very far away from horses, like you told me you were going to.” He’d remembered my comment from nearly thirty years earlier and, I suspect, been chuckling to himself about it for all that time. No, the “nut” doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

A Letter to His Children:

“TO ALL OF YOU                                                                                             September 2, 2012

When you get into your late seventies and early eighties, you find yourself becoming increasingly aware of your mortality. Years ago the thought of dying scared me. It no longer does.

“Old age ain’t for sissies.” Every day you notice a new pain or realize you can no longer do certain things that you’ve always enjoyed. As you grow more and more frail and find that life becomes more and more difficult and, yes, unpleasant, you realize that this is nature’s way of getting you to accept the end of life. It happens to everyone sooner or later. The biggest fear I’ve had about dying was to be hospitalized for a long period just hanging on. Hopefully, this will not be like that and I’ll have the time to tell you all how much I love you and how much having you in my life has meant.

Seriously, don’t feel sorry for me; or for yourselves. I’ve lived a long, loving life. I loved my career and, finally, met, fell in love with, and married a truly remarkable woman. I’ve seen my kids and step-kids grow into successful, responsible adults and start their own families. I’ve had the chance to meet and love all the grand kids. I won’t be around to see all of them graduate from high school or college but I don’t think that the quality of my life would be especially wonderful fifteen years from now anyway.

So, please, try to think of this as a blessing. We all fear not knowing how or when we’ll die. Knowing like this, in advance, truly makes it easier.

So let’s enjoy what time we have left together, and you all have a wonderful drunken bash, in my honor, when it ends.


1. No fear of running out of money in your lifetime.

2. Drink or smoke as much as you want.

3. No worries about high blood pressure

4. Or about high cholesterol

5. You can give away the things to friends and family that you want them to have...and do it in person.

6. You can fulfill your bucket list... if you hurry.

7. You don‘t have to worry about how the Republicans are going to screw up the country.

8.  No more getting hit in the face with a tennis ball while playing the net.

9. Quit worrying about whether the snails are going to decimate your garden.

10. Not have to take the trash out to the curb much longer.

11. You’ll no longer have to go to the doctor to have your skin cancers removed.

12. Your allergies will no longer bother you.

13. You won’t have to guess about what stocks to buy and hold for the long term

14. No fear of heart attacks.

15. You won’t have to face the awful fact that you’re getting too old to drive.

16. Global warming is no longer your problem.

17. You’ll never have to put another pet to sleep.

18. Even the people who don’t like you will pretend to care.

19. You realize you have enough trout flies for a life time.

20. You’ll never go bald.

21. You won’t have the expense of hearing aids.

22. Someone else gets to repair the flagstone wall in the back yard.

23.  You’ll no longer be frustrated by the record of the a) Broncos, b) Nuggets, or c) Rockies.

24. You’ll be spared years of political attack ads.

25. If you’re really lucky, you might qualify for medical marijuana.

See. It’s not all bad!! I can’t tell you how much it helps to laugh about it.

I always hoped that I would a have massive heart attack while on a tennis court or prowling the shores of a trout stream.  So this is third best. I can “live” with that.

As George Bernard Shaw said: ”Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.”

All my love always, Dad”

He will be missed….