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Published: Sunday, 1/2/2005

Teacher stayed in memories of students

BLISSFIELD Sarah Eudora Carter, a Blissfield and Adrian schoolteacher whose teaching and debating style was remembered decades after she taught her last class, died Thursday at the Grand Court assisted living facility in Adrian.

She was 100.

Mrs. Carter died of respiratory failure, family members said.

Born in Weston, Mich., the daughter of a hardware store owner, Mrs. Carter s proficiency with language and how to use it distinguished itself early.

Before she graduated from Adrian High School in the early 1920s, Mrs. Carter directed plays and served as debate coach for the school.

She immediately went on to Eastern Michigan University to study speech and English.

She continued in this vein of study at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where she attained her master s degree in English and speech in 1930.

After school, she returned to the Adrian area to teach at rural one-room country schools for several years.

She had to do everything from build the fire to teaching all eight grades worth of students in the same room, said her step-daughter, Carol Crist Sheldon.

Mrs. Carter moved on to teach high school English in the Adrian school district, and also coached the school s debate team.

After years of teaching, she stopped to rear a family with her first husband, Rex Crist, who owned Crist s Pure Food Market, a grocery and meat market in Blissfield.

She worked at the store, too got on her white apron and helped cook the meat, her step-daughter said.

In the mid-1950s, after her children were old enough, Mrs. Carter went back to teaching, this time at the Blissfield school district.

Once again she taught high school English, coached debating, and managed the school's yearbook.

She was a very strict teacher. The hundreds of people that came up to her in a restaurant when we were with her, they always said, You were very strict, but you one of the few teachers that we retained everything you taught us, her step-daughter said.

Mrs. Carter would even give funds out of her own pocket to help needy students pursue higher-education goals.

Mrs. Carter retired from teaching in the 1960s and nearly four decades later, on her 100th birthday, she received many cards and letters from past students, telling her they couldn t have succeeded in their various careers without her.

An avid reader, Mrs. Carter served on the board of the Schultz-Holmes Memorial Library. She was also known for her singing: Though blind for the last 15 years of her life, she knew the verses of many hymns by memory, and sang with a group The Islanders in Palmetto, Fla., where she would spend winters with both her husbands, now deceased.

Her singing was an inspiration to everyone, her step-daughter said. She was singing them up until the last few minutes before she died.

Mrs. Carter was a member of the First Methodist Church in Blissfield, past president of the Women s Society of Christian Service for the church, and past president of the Blissfield Service Club.

She is survived by her two daughters, Barbara Osborn and Carol Crist Sheldon; daughter-in-law Sandy Crist, and 12 grandchildren.

Services will be at 2 p.m. today at the First United Methodist Church, the Rev. Michael Mayo-Moyle presiding. Arrangements are being handled by the Tagsold Funeral Home.

The family suggests contributions to the First United Methodist Church.



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