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Joe Carter Sr.: The father behind a major-league hero and a prolific Oklahoma City family

COMMENTARY — When Joe Carter Sr. died last week, he left behind a family that featured 46 grandchildren, 35 great grandchildren and 10 great great grandchildren. They, along with his involvement in his community, are as much a part of his legacy as a name that will go down in baseball history.
by Jenni Carlson Published: September 25, 2012
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photo - Former major league baseball player Joe Carter, Jr., is hugged after the funeral.  About 400 family and friends gathered inside the Millwood High School Fieldhouse on  Tuesday,  Sep, 25, 2012, to honor the life and say farewell to Joseph D. Carter, Sr. at a funeral service that was sentimental and touching, but also full of joy and laughter. Carter is survived by a wife and their 11 children as well as 46 grandchildren, 35 great-grandchildren and 10 great-great-grandchildren. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman.
Former major league baseball player Joe Carter, Jr., is hugged after the funeral. About 400 family and friends gathered inside the Millwood High School Fieldhouse on Tuesday, Sep, 25, 2012, to honor the life and say farewell to Joseph D. Carter, Sr. at a funeral service that was sentimental and touching, but also full of joy and laughter. Carter is survived by a wife and their 11 children as well as 46 grandchildren, 35 great-grandchildren and 10 great-great-grandchildren. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman.

“Then,” he said, “I would really meet the Carters.”

He remembered that shortly after Millwood built its football stadium, Mr. Carter approached him about a concrete slab near the field. Mr. Carter worried about kids running into it and injuring themselves. He thought something needed to be done.

Within the week, padding covered the concrete.

“And it was because of Mr. Carter,” Greene said.

Mr. Carter refused to take no for an answer.

“I only saw Mr. Carter back down one time,” Greene said, “and that was on the Kiss Cam at the Thunder game.”

Spears witnessed Mr. Carter's involvement, too. As the girls basketball coach at Millwood for more than 40 years, she saw the Carters at every game. They were supportive. They were encouraging. They were there.

“This is what we call ‘old school' today,” Spears said. “This is what we need to come back to.”

Hard to argue with the results. The Carters raised a brood of children who became successful not only in sports but also in life. They are mothers and fathers. They are hard working and church going. They are contributing members of society.

And now, the lessons that Mr. Carter taught are being passed along to his 46 grandchildren, 35 great grandchildren and 10 great great grandchildren.

His life may have ended, but his legacy will continue.

“I know that when my father got to heaven,” his son Fred said, “God said, ‘Well done, thy good and faithful servant.'”

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125 or at jcarlson@opubco.com. You can also like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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