Friendly, humorous and always open for a conversation is how some who remember “The Hot Dog Man” describe him.
“I just remember him being a really nice guy,” said Joel Carboni who graduated from Ball State in 1997.
He and his friends frequented the hot dog cart in the Village after nights of “blowing off steam” at the then Headliners bar on Dill Street, even during cold winter nights.
Mark Carter, 58, owner and operator of the hot dog stand and a 1983 Ball State alumnus, died May 12 at his residence following a brief illness, his obituary states.
Carter’s Nearly World Famous Hot Dogs, as his business was called, operated as a hot dog cart in the Village since 1994. He had a store in Muncie Mall, and from 1998 to 2004 also operated a store in the Village where Jimmy John’s is located today, according to a previous Daily News article.
A quote from Mark Carter from a 2011 Daily News article:
"I was in my bedroom one night and I was sort of half asleep. A vision of Oscar Meyer came to me and he said, ‘Mark, go forth and purvey processed meat to the masses.' I thought it was a sign from above to become a weinerologist."
After a little laughter, Carter said, "Actually, I don't think that's true."
After retiring, however, he decided to work at Speedy Dogs for a little bit, still clinging on to his hot dog roots.
“Mark worked with me for the last two, two and a half years and it was great,” said Travis Shroyer, owner and operator of Speedy Dogs. “I couldn’t have a better partner in crime than Mark Carter, for sure.”
His food served late-night cravings in the Village, with one article stating that he kept his business open until the last person left. But today, people remember him for his personality.
“You could have a conversation with him whether you bought a hot dog or not. I think that’s what a lot of people liked about him.” Shroyer said.
Derek Edwards, owner of White Rabbits Used Books, said he too was a good friend of Carter’s and talked to him frequently because his cart was right across the street from his store.
“He’d get to know his customers. He knew everybody. You could not stop in for months and he knew exactly what your favorite dog was when you came back,” Edwards said. ”He was just an all round wonderful person.”
He was upset about not being able to talk much with Carter in the past couple years, but was glad he ran into Carter outside of a grocery store about a month ago and got a last chance to talk to him.
“Everybody seemed to like him. I can’t think of anybody who had a bad word to say about him,” Edwards said.
Shroyer said Carter’s long history with the university and the respect he still gets from the Ball State is “amazing.”
“We definitely learnt a lot from Mark Carter and that’s one of the things I’ll never forget,” Shroyer said. “He didn’t have a mean bone in his body. He loved everybody; he remembered everybody.”
His obituary states funeral services will be held at noon Thursday at The Meeks Mortuary and Crematory, Washington Street Chapel followed by a burial in Elm Ridge Cemetery.
Contact Rohith Rao with comments at email@example.com or on Twitter @RaoReports.