Couple honored for 70 years of devotion

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 28, 2006

On April 19, 2005, the New York Times reported that 60 percent of all marriages that result in divorce end in the first decade and more than 80 percent of marriages are over within the first 20 years. But these statistics don’t represent Eddie and Gertrude Carter who were recently recognized for their 70 years of marriage.

“Anybody that has been such a pillar in the community and has been married that long…I think they deserve something,” Marengo County commissioner Freddie Armstead, who recently presented a resolution to acknowledge the couple, said. “Some people wait until people died to do something like this, but I wanted to do something for them while they are here.”

The resolution states the couple has exemplified high family values while being loving spouses, dedicated parents and faithful friends to everyone they encountered, including treating other people’s children as theirs while raising five successful children of their own, Armstead added.

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“They helped raise other people’s children and I was a part of their raising,” Armstead said. Through his laughs he added, “Their son and I stole their car many of times while they were sleeping. Then we’d try to put the same amount of gas in it before we brought it back and parked it the same spot.”

Eddie and Gertrude have been happily married since January 26,1936, and said they made a covenant to honor and cherish until death do they part.

“I’m still living and she’s still with me,” Eddie said. “We haven’t been separated since the day we got married. We’ve been doing mighty well through life.”

And even though Gertrude never thought they would be married for so many years, she said the secret to a happy, long and successful marriage is to pray and pray a lot.

But keeping Christ in their lives isn’t hard for the couple since they attend St. Paul Baptist Church just about every Sunday.

“Mr. Carter has been a deacon in St. Paul from the time I was born-which was about 50 years ago,” Armstead said, “His contribution in the church and in the community has been enormous.”

While he worked at the cement plant with Armstead’s father during the Civil Rights Movement Eddie can remember scrubbing the “black” labels off water fountains and literally breaking down segregation walls in his workplace bathrooms once things became integrated.

“He’s always been a hard worker and it wasn’t easy during those times. Mr. Carter proves that if you work hard and treat your fellow man right, you will reap the benefits,” Armstead said, “I want these other kids to know they are an example of how you can be, what you can be, and how you can raise your children to be successful in life.”