October 14, 2011

James Martin Carriker (A Family Tribute)

Today we laid my Pappaw to rest and the following Eulogy was written and read by my Great Aunt Janet Green whom did a wonderful job this afternoon.

James Martin Carriker was born on October 26, 1931, to Allison Conner and Mary Elizabeth Cullins Carriker. He was their second son and fifth child. He was little brother to Nellie, Todd, Dean and Son and big brother to DeWitt, Ivey, Janet, Bill and Shelia. Named for both of his grandfathers, James Monroe Carriker and Martin Luther Carriker, he was proud of his heritage, coming from a strong Irish, German and Scottish lineages. Mama always felt like he looked like her side of the family with his dark Irish looks. He loved his big family and remembered fondly growing up during the hard depression years with a loving Mama and Daddy who managed to feed their household and any of their friends who happened to be at the house during meal time.

Jim was educated in Concord City schools; however, he had innate skills that were not taught in the classroom at that time. He understood construction and could build an addition to his house or even a garage with little or no training. He loved to refurbish old cars and trucks throughout his adult years and had an active business reselling them. It seemed he could do anything with his hands that one could ask of him. At an early age he went to work for Cannon Mills and later trained as an electrician. During his career, he worked as an electrician for both Cannon Mills and Jim Vending Company.

As a young man, Jim was infatuated with cars. I understand that he may have received a few tickets after he got his drivers license. He was even known to out run the police one night when he did a strange rigging of a bicycle inner tube to his tail pipe and evidently was disturbing the sleepy town of Concord's evening peace. The only problem was the police knew where we lived and was parked in the driveway when he got home. And as we all know that did NOT set well with Daddy. I can remember Mama telling me that after a boy turned 16, you just had to give them to God and let Him take care of him. I think she was referring to her errant son Jim, just to name one of them.

However, it did not take long for him to leave his adolescence behind him and settle down. He met Eva Bell Carroll, the love of his life, and they married shortly thereafter in April of 1951. She was his loving companion for 55 years until her death in 2006. They gave birth to their one and only child, James Delany Carriker, whom his Grandmother Carriker renamed Jimbo as a little boy. When he outgrew that "love name," we later called him Little Jimmy. Jim remained a proud Daddy as long as he lived, welcoming Terry into his family as his only daughter upon hers and Jimmy's marriage. The birth of a granddaughter, Jamie Cullins Carriker, gave him great delight. He eas her Pappaw, and she was his little darling. She did little to no wrong in his eyes and together they were quiet a pair. When she married Michael, he immediately became family as Jim's grandson and Victoria, his great granddaughter. They became part of his loving family. He lived to see little Brody, his great grandson, born and took great pride in telling me what a special little one he was and chuckled when he told me what mischief he could get into.

Jim's hobbies included hunting and fishing, collecting guns, NASCAR races, cars and the New York Yankees. He also loved listening to and singing Gospel music. He was one of the few Carrikers of our branch of the family who could carry a tune. He loved the Statler Brothers and the Statesman Quartets in particular. Jimmy had a hard time making him appreciate Rock music with the exception of the Creedance Clearwater Revival. He loved teaching Jamie and Brody their childhood songs.

Jim, as is characteristic in our family, loved children. He used to tease me and say "Just let me have Jay and Jann for about two weeks, and I will spoil them so badly, you will never get it out of them. I'll make them mean as snakes." He loved to tease and play with all of our children. He was always a supportive big brother to me, and I always loved seeing him. He and Eva always welcomed me into their home. When I needed to earn money to return to college between my freshman and sophmore years, they hired me as their summer babysitter for Jimmy. When Marty was running for Judge , they manned a voting station, believing in him and convincing others that he was the best man for the job. Those who knew Jim knew that if you did not want his full opinion on a subject that you better not ask him. He was a straight talker. He told you what he believed was "God's Truth".

Jim stole our hearts and at our last "Most Like Momma's Cooking Contest, when he won first place for the dish he entered in the contest. And he cooked it himself. He took probably the hardest dish he could have chosen and made it taste the most like Momma's. He even made her turnip greens and cornbread dumplings. However, we did learn his secret. He boldly told us that Eva Bell taught him how to make it. He said that after she got so sickand could not cookthat she would sit at the dining room table and would dictate every detailand technique he needed to know in order to cook their meals. And that was how he learned to make the turnip greens and dumplings.

When Jim was fearful that he may have had cancer last December, he told me he was ready to die and meet his maker, but he did not want to die. Once he was diagnosed he gave it a valiant fight. He told me more than once during his struggle that he had lived to see another day and was grateful. Although he was noticeably growing weaker, he told me just last week on Monday that his pain was great and each day was gift. We talked at length that day, sharing family stories and reminiscing about growing up. His mind was sharp, but his body was weak. Just three days later he was in a coma, fighting for every breath with Jimmy, Terry, Jamie and Brody rarely leaving his bedside. They were great caregivers (second to Scooter, his pet dachshund), giving back the love that they had known from him and Eva Bell.

Now Jim is cancer-free and joined Ivey this week in rejoicing in Paradise in  the loving and welcoming arms of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is now reunited with Eva Bell, Mama and Daddy, Todd and Ray, Dean and Elmer, Son and Frankie, Terry, Ivey and Dewey. He now knows that joy unspeakable. Let's work on trading in our grief for his joy and rejoice with him.

Written by:
Janet Green

1 comment:

  1. This is such an honest & genuine tribute! Still sending love & comfort...