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Oral History of Edward F. Carter & Maurita Crossley Carter


Maurita Carter: This is something that I've been putting off since your dad's death January 3, 1983. I have promised you that I would finish his life history. I have just been sitting here listening to his life history and was wondering where to start. He's told you practically everything that needs to be told up until the time that he started to be more ill with his gall bladder.

Early in 1982 he complained of his eye sight. We went back to Dr. Noble and he said, "Ed, you've got a cataract on that one eye. When it gets worse, we'll operate. Come back in September and let's see what you've got." All summer long Ed kept saying, "I'll be glad when fall comes and they'll take this cataract out. I can't see." I had to start leading him around. He couldn't see to eat properly. He didn't want to go out in public, because he felt like he spilled down his front. Ed was a very proud man and he didn't want people to see him where he wasn't eating properly.

His feet would swell up and he couldn't keep his shoes on. He couldn't stand his shoes on. In his life history he mentioned that he wasn't a church going man. Towards the end of his life, he couldn't have his shoes on, so he didn't want to go with sandals. He was a very religious man as far as the Lord's commandments were concerned. He firmly believed in family. He firmly believed in being a good neighbor.

All through our married life there wasn't a thing that I ever had to have hired down. Washing machine fixing, electrician, plumber, you name it, carpenter, Ed did it. I never hired anything done. I feel like that he left us a legacy to his children on how to fix things and how to work hard and make a living and be kind and sweet and considerate to their wives. Because all through our married life, we had our little spats, but we were each individuals and we each had our own minds, which is good. But as far as kindness was concerned, I never had to worry about him slapping me. Sometimes I vexed him so that he could have done, but he was a gentleman in every respect. I feel like our married life was a happy one and a pleasant one. He did everything to make me happy.

With his eyesight going, all summer long we went out to the reunion and he couldn't enjoy it, because he wasn't well. His gout hurt. His eyesight was going. When we went back in the fall to Dr. Noble, he looked at him and said, "That cataract hasn't gotten any worse." Ed said, "I can't help it. I can't see." Dr. Noble then started investigating and they found out he had glaucoma. There wasn't a thing they could do but put eye drops in his eyes to try to save what they could as long as they could.

That was what broke Ed. He didn't want to be a burden to I and the children. With his eyesight gone, he felt like if his feet were hurting, he could still be with us and enjoy us. But when his eyesight went, that was what broke his heart. Then he developed gout. The gout was something that he had learned to live with. But then pretty soon he had a gall bladder attack. It got pretty bad. Dr. Fresnick said, "Ed, I know you're in pain. You don't have a chance. I would say you have a one out of a hundred chance of getting through an operation. Let's prolong the gall bladder operation as long as we can."

It got so bad that finally Ed would crawl from the bed to the toilet and vomit. He couldn't eat properly. It hurt him too bad to eat. He was on oxygen for first eight hours, then sixteen hours. Finally he said, "Honey, I can't take it any longer. Call Dr. Fresnick." I called Dr. Fresnick and he said, "I knew the time would come when he would have to have that taken care of. Dr. Fullmer will operate, but I want him in the hospital several days before the operation because I've got to monitor that heart." I took him in on December 16.

First, let me back up. Our forty fifth wedding anniversary, November 20, the children said they were going to give us a forty fifth wedding open house. I said, "We don't want that. Wait until the fiftieth." Ed said, "We better have it. I want to see what I can of my friends." Nancy was pretty persistent. The boys said, "If that's what you want, Sis, we'll go ahead." They've always depended a lot on Nancy on straightening out their thinking on what to do for Mom and Dad.

On November 13 the children gave us an open house down in the old Provo 18th Ward Junior Sunday School room. It was crowded. It was packed. We had friends that came to see us that we hadn't see for twenty years. It was supposed to start at 7:00 and they started arriving at 6:00. It was pretty close to midnight when we got away from there. Ed would say, "Did you ever see so many people. Did you remember those people?" I did but I had forgotten them.

After we got home, night after night he'd lay there and say, "Honey, did you see Galloways? It's been ages since we saw them." Or, "Did you see so and so? Did you think they'd remember us?" Those were the things that he remembered. He really appreciated this forty fifth wedding anniversary that our children gave us.

On December 16, he went in for this operation. Dr. Fresnick monitored his heart. They took him right down the ICU and Ed said, "My heart is not nearly as bad as they think it is. I'll be alright." The nurses from the fourth floor sent word down that his bed was waiting for him. He had his operation and his health was so bad. His heart was so bad. His emphysema had been arrested, but the tissues of his lungs was so bad that he developed pneumonia. They had him on a respirator.

Before he went in, I promised him faithfully that I would not let them keep him on a life support machine. That was something that he did not want. He didn't want to be a burden to anyone. He didn't want to be on a life support machine. He motioned for me to pull the plugs. I said, "Honey, I don't want to commit murder and you can't commit suicide, because I want you in the next world."

Finally he passed away. It was pneumonia and congestive heart failure. The operation was a success. As far as the gall bladder operation was concerned, it was a success. But his body was worn out. His lungs were gone. His eyes were gone. He died on January 3 in Utah Valley Hospital. We buried him on January 8 to the side of his sister at Provo Cemetery.

His services were held on January 8. We had the most beautiful speakers. They said the kindest things and most beautiful things about Ed that I could ever believe. Robert Carter, our oldest son gave the family prayer. Vivia Johnson an old friend and neighbor for years and years in the Provo Eighteenth Ward played the music. Chris Sorenson, an old friend of Ed's that grew up together, gave the prayer. Chris could hardly give the prayer. He said, "Please don't ask me to speak, Rita. I can't."

One of the speakers was bishop Paul Warner. He was a bishop of ours in the Provo 18th Ward. He was a beautiful person and we certainly learned to love him. He said the things that were utmost in all our minds, what a good worker Ed was and what a good man Ed was.

There was no flowers. When I say flowers, there were no flowery speeches. It was just the true things about Ed Carter. Then his nephew Leroy Pratt's two girls sang the song, "I believe." That was Kathy and Becky Pratt. It was touching. It was beautiful. That was the song that Ed had bought just before he went into the hospital. He was going to learn to play it. He thought it was so beautiful.

The next speaker was Charlie Jacks. He is president of the Idaho Stake. He was also the bishop in the Provo 18th Ward. There were things he said about Ed, like how he enjoyed working with Ed and being with Ed. It touched all our hearts. Bishop Ken Pearce spoke. Ken Pearce was working with us at the Eddie Lee Boy's home. He knew Ed. He knew what Ed loved. He knew the kindness Ed showed to everyone. In his speech he remarked that there was a professor at the Y that was with us at Eddie Lee. He made the remark that he had never seen two greater humanitarians than Ed and I. We dedicated our lives to our fellow men.

Then Kathy and Becky sang "Beyond the Sunset," which Ed loved. Our bishop from the Orem 78th Ward was bishop Walter Purcell. He was our bishop since we moved out here to Orem. We've had great bishops. Bishop Purcell gave a few remarks.

Then another friend and old neighbor of ours Sam Jarman, gave the benediction. Sam and his lovely wife were neighbors to us in the Provo 18th Ward. We certainly enjoyed those neighbors. Then another bishop, John Captain, from the 18th ward spoke. We lived 38 years in one place, so you can see why all these bishops were part of us.

We buried our darling daddy. It was the close of his life. But I will say that Ed has never left my home in spirit. He's here with me. He helps me. He guides me. Not only that, but when I'm lonely, I can play the music that he played on his organ. He loved music and he loved to play. These happy memories I've got fill my life.

This is Ed's life history. I know that the children will appreciate it. I promised them I'd do it, but I just haven't been able to steal myself to go back through and do the things I should. Children, here is your Dad's life history. I'm finishing this up for you. It's December 2, 1984.

[tape interrupted...Voice of Edward F. Carter]

December 2, 1979.

Edward F. Carter: If I can say what's in my heart tonight, this will be one of the longest testimony meetings in the history of the church. Brother's and sisters I guess most of you know that four weeks ago tomorrow, I had an accident. I know that through my Heavenly Father and through his guidance and through his acceptance of me, I stand here before you. I stand before you as a living miracle. When I was cut by this saw, if it had gone a quarter of an inch more, it would have taking the sight of my right eye and maybe a half an inch more or so it would have gone into my brain. Brothers and sisters I know that my Heavenly Father was watching over me.

I'm going to tell you partially what happened. We don't know how these freak accidents happen. We do know a good percentage of them are negligence and stupidity. I'm sure this is what happened on my part. Looking back over I assume that the chain saw climbed under my coat and into my face. My son was sawing and I was standing on the opposite saw of the log, which I shouldn't have been doing. I know better. I've worked around machinery all my life and I still have my ten fingers. This is quite a thing for some of us who have worked there that long and still have their ten fingers.

Three times in my life I know that my Heavenly Father has been with me. When I was six years old I was playing with my brother. We were playing in the house and we were playing horses. My sister was going from the stove to the table with a bowl of hot gravy. He and I were running through the house and I bumped into her and it got all on me. I suffered second and third degree burns all over my body. Through the thoughtfulness and quickness of my father, they tore most of my clothing off. I had a little shirt on and on my chest today I carry a great scar that almost covers my chest. This was through the flannel shirt and Dad couldn't get it off quick enough. I know that at this time I was near death. I was on the door of death. Through my father's quickness and through his priesthood I was saved.

About 25 years ago in October, I detached the retina in my right eye. At that time there had only been one other operation at the Utah Valley Hospital where they fixed a retina. Dr. Oaks and Dr. Petty went into my eye and fixed this retina. I can see all the way down through my right eye, but I have to get close to recognize you. I'm thankful, Brothers and Sisters for what I've got.

In this terrible accident, which happened four weeks ago tomorrow, it cut right down through here. Dr. Hirschi did the plastic surgery on my face. He said he could lay his finger right in like that in the skull. You see how close it was to taking my eye and my life.

Brothers and Sisters I know that my Father in Heaven was with me. I know that he does answer our prayers. I remember as I lay down there on the operating table with a heart condition. I kept thinking, "Why don't they give me a transfusion." I knew that I'd lost a lot of blood. I was at my son's in Springville. Due to he and his wife's quickness, they called the ambulance and paramedics and within three minutes the paramedics were there. They had a doctor with them. They had been out to one of the schools. They came out there. Within three minutes they were there. The doctor tied off the artery. I didn't know this. I put my hand up there and when it came away it was all bloody.

As I lay there I thought, "Why don't they give me a transfusion." I'm sure this is what upset my heart. For five hours, from 4:30 until 9:30 I laid on the operating table, so they could stabilize my heart and get it so I could go through this operation. Look what a beautiful job Dr. Hirschi did.

What I want to tell you most about is in the estate that I was in, I remember my dear wife asking for the elders. Dr. Hirschi said, "What do you want Sister Carter?" She said, "I know that Ed would like someone to administer to him." He said, "There is no problem there. I have the priesthood and my brother is here from Canada. He has the priesthood. And my associate is here. We all three hold the priesthood. We'll administer to him."

In my semi-conscious state I remember them administering to me. They anointed my head with oil and administered to me. The beautiful part of the whole thing is I remember Dr. Hirschi asking, "Please, Father, make it so that his face won't scar. Guide my hand so that I may do the things that will be of benefit to him." I knew at the time he got through with the prayer that I was going to be alright. This has been a testimony to me.

Going back to this other operation when I detached my retina, this was one of the first operations, actually the second. They told me that I would have to lay on my back for three and a half weeks with a sand bag on each side of my head. I wasn't to move my head at all. At night they tied my hands on the side of the bed so I wouldn't wiggle. For three and a half weeks I laid like this.

When the elders came in and administered to me, something come over me and I knew that I was going to be able to do this. Brothers and Sisters this is the testimony that God does answer prayers. He hears our prayer and he answers them. I bear you this testimony that I know that he does hear and answer our prayers, sometimes with answers so that we don't know. But other times he answers us so that we do know right at the time that we're going to be alright. This has been the case with me twice in my life. I can't remember earlier when the burn healed, but I'm sure three times in my life my Heavenly Father has answered my prayers and my parent's prayers and my wife's prayers.

I want to tell you that I do appreciate my wife. This is one of the first things I remember when I was sedated. I remember her in the operating room and the emergency room and what a joy it was to me to hear her voice and to know that she was there with me. I want her to know that I do love her. About two weeks ago we had our 42nd anniversary. She's been my sweetheart for almost 43 years. I want her to know that I love her more today than I did 43 years ago if that's possible.

I want my children to know that I love them. We had ten children, five boys and five girls. We don't distinguish by calling them daughters-in-law or sons-in-law. They're our daughters and our sons. I would as quickly ask my son-in-law to do me a favor as I would my son. The same goes for my daughters-in-law. We had five daughters and we have five sons. We have five grandsons and five granddaughters. You can see how we have been blessed in this life.

I do want you to know that I do have a testimony of this gospel and I know God answers our prayers. Had he not I would not have been here before you this night. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

[About 5 minutes of organ music]

Carter: Today is February 11. It's 4:00 in the afternoon and tomorrow I go into the hospital. I enter this with mixed emotions. I'm worried quite a bit about it because my heart is not too good. I know anything can happen to me and I want my family to know that I've had a real good life. I love each and every one of them, my children, my grandchildren and my daughters-in law and my sons-in-law. I love Rita with all my heart. I hope that if anything does happen to me that she'll find her a nice companion to live the rest of her life out with, because I would hate to see her go along lonely.

I'd like to say to my kids that use tobacco that I don't begrudge you using tobacco, but I wish you would look at what it has done to me. If you feel it in your heart to quit before you get to where you can't breathe good, it would make me a lot happier to know that you did this. You only have one life to live. If you have to live the tail end out worried about getting your breath it's not very good. Tobacco isn't worth that much to you. I don't hold it against you because I used tobacco and I know it's hard to quit. I know as far as taste it tastes good. Think about it a little bit and think what it's done to your dad.

If anything should happen to me, I want you all to go on the best you can and think of the good things that have happened to us in our lives. I know that you will get a lot of joy in thinking over the happy moments you had when you were kids and you were growing up and we were struggling to try to get by. This is all I have to say now. I think that I'm going to get by alright on this operation, but if anything should happen to me, you know my feelings.

[harmonica music]