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After nearly 95 years, Thelma “Toots” Carter left her family farm to be with the Lord, on January 22, 2019, surrounded by her family.
She was born on April 17, 1924, in her parents two room log cabin, the eighth child of John and Kathryn (Polk) Burton. Very soon after, her older brother, Robert, showed up with his little wagon to haul the baby away. So his mama began to present the case to keep the new baby. Starting at the top, she began to search for some redeeming feature to make keeping the baby worth the aggravation. From pretty eyes and a cute little nose all the way to the feet, but nothing worked. But then, as she uncovered the cute little tootsies on the end of her feet, he caved. From then on Thelma became “Tootsie” and as time went on, “Toots”. Most folks never knew her real name, Thelma Kathryn.
Toots walked across the holler to the Miller School for eight years and then rode Rob Hall’s bus to Cannelton High School, where she graduated in 1942. At the age of 16 she met Bud (Frederick) Carter at a neighborhood ice skating party on Deer Creek. They were married on January 26, 1946 and was his wife for 71 years until his death in 2017. Bud entered the Army Air Corp after high school and trained as a B17 gunner. Just before he went overseas he called Toots to come to Denver to get married. Toots and her little sister, Jewell, picked blackberries and dug yellow root to get enough money for a bus ticket. After she got to Denver, they never married as Bud’s buddies talked him out of it for the fear of leaving her a widow. After Bud shipped out she got a job waiting tables to make enough to buy another bus ticket. Toots returned home and went to Evansville to work in the Briggs Plant making airplane wings for the Navy Cosair. After the war, they married, bought her home place and started a dairy farm. Bud worked at the Cotton Mill in Cannelton and Toots stayed on the farm.
Five years and three little kids later, the farm became a full time job for Bud. It quickly became apparent that an outside paycheck was necessary, and Toots went to work nights at General Electric. After eight years, she returned to the farm full time. She milked cows, drove tractors and raised a large garden. She canned and froze whatever she could get her hands on as if the survival of the family depended on it; a trait she inherited as the result of living through the Great Depression.
A busy homemaker, Toots cooked three meals a day for her growing family, sewed their clothes and was a 4-H leader. She always made sure that her children attended Sunday School. She played a mean hand of euchre and read a vast number of books in her lifetime. Toots was a living history book and was happy to share her knowledge with others. Her sister, Jewell “Sissy” Harding, is the last of the John Burton family and continues the job as family historian.
Her three children survive and continue to preserve her precious memory for future generations. They include, Randall Carter (Mary Jo), Carol Park (Larry) and Joann Etienne (Phil). Her spirit will continue through her nine grandchildren, twenty one great grandchildren and one great-great granddaughter, arriving in the spring. We send her our love as she joins her husband Bud, parents, John and Kate, brothers, Russell, Robert and Sonny and sisters, Cecil, Mildred, Agnes, Ruth and Alma.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 AM CST Friday, January 25, 2019 at Huber Funeral Home, Tell City Chapel. Brother Eddie Olberding will officiate. Burial will follow in Schraner Cemetery, near German Ridge. Visitation will be on Thursday from 3:00-7:00 PM and on Friday from 9:00-11:00 AM at the funeral home.
Memorial contributions can be made to Carr Cemetery or Heart to Heart Hospice. Online condolences may be left at www.huberfuneralhome.net