O.C. Carter

11 May 1918 to 21 June 1995

O.C. Carter, always the dapper dresser. The Man

O.C. Carter was the only son born to Anderson Major Carter and Daisy Simon. He was born May 11, 1918, in Medill, Texas, in the County of Lamar. Because Medill was such a small town, O.C. adopted the City of Paris, Texas as his birthplace. Carter was the only surviving child of the three children born to Anderson and Daisy. a prior Anderson Carter marriage produced four girls: Lillie, Magnolia, Annie Mae, and Henrie Willie. O.C.'s parents died when he was five years old. His half sister Lillie raised him and had a major influence on his life.

O.C. met his wife Gerteal Theola Green in Oklahoma City in 1938. O.C. and Gerteal were married March 7, 1940 in Toledo, Ohio, and then moved to Detroit, Michigan. From this marriage came two sons, Barry Carl and Alfred Anderson. As a young black man, Carter mastered his peoples' skills to a science. This grass roots experiece gave him the education of a Doctor of Philosophy, a PhD in "People Engineering". He loved associating with people from all walks of life.

O.C. was a devoted husband and father and always took care of his family. In the 1960's, O.C. got a job with Kelsey Hayes. He worked for that company over 20 years, retiring in 1984. O.C. was very active in the union; being an original member of the Kelsey Hayes Concerned Workers. After retiring, O.C. was the "Volunteers Volunteer." During retirement, he served the needy as a volunteer at the Detroit Northwest Activities Center. O.C. also served as a jitney to senior citizens, assisting them in paying bills, shopping for food, and doctor visits.

Carter was a self-ordained messiah. He sacrificed his own well-being for the sake of others. Deep inside, he was trying to find that childhood that passed him by as a youngster. In his quest for answers, he would not rest, until finally succumbing to cancer; an illness he fought courageously to overcome.

O.C's Philosophy

As a child growing up, I never though of my father as a philosopher. He gave out the traditional orders, or uttered familiar parent-child rules. But I never gave it a thought that these directions were being given by a wise man. This is quite suprising, for you see Carter never attained any formal education above the eighth grade. As a child, Carter himself was taught the meanings of the concepts of sacrifice, dicipline, and hard work. He was raised by a strict older half-sister (Sister Lillie). When Carter began to raise his own family, those ideas were passed on to another generation; his two sons. When I was thirteen years old, Carter got me started on my first "real" job, as a paperboy. He told me it was not about making money, but about the following:

The youth of O.C. was daring for a young family man, albeit materialistically rewarding. Carter didn't believe in having a lot of bills, but he loved having a lot of money. So he made money in the streets. He was a Master Hustler. He loved working at night as a panderer. Then from pandering, he did numbers. When he was young, he bought his first home and paid it off in ten years. He kept a nice car; even in recession times. When times were rough, he made money giving "pay party's". Those were the day's when our house was envaded by people gathering in the basement from Friday night to Sunday morning. Mom cooked the food, and they gambled and partied the whole weekend. Carter made $500 to $1000 on a weekend; not bad in the 1950's. Carter was also a very dapper dresser, and provided well for his wife and kids. But Carter didn't want his kids to follow in his shoes. He kept preaching self-dicipline, respect for your elders, etc. Even Jesus excused noone from personal responsibility and neither did O.C. Carter. He wanted his kids to go to college, so they wouldn't have to struggle as much as he did. As Carter grew older, his path changed or should I say evolved. Finally Carter realized what the key to life was all about. It wasn't about self, but about selfless. From PSALM 25:7

Remember nor the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: According to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness sake, O'Lord.

Carter was always talking about sacrifice. I knew what he was taking about, but didn't really know how to apply it. Looking back when he was alive, I now understand. We must put away during the abundant years for the lean years, and we must prepare while we are young to grow old, and eventually die, Ecc 9:5. This is the circle of life we must all navigate.

Carter's philosophy was timeless. He was a people person. A team player. A helpful person to young and old alike. Carter understood the Circle of Life. He had seen so much suffering, illness, and death; that when his time came he was not afraid. Much like a Zen Master, you cannot describe it, for there are no words or logic capable of its meaning. A thing is what it is.

Anatomy of a Hustler

Carter moved to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in the 1930's. His closest friend was Roy Carter (no relation), and they were a dynamic duo.  O.C's best friend Roy.  They shared the same birthday. As of May 2007, Roy still lives in Oklahoma City and is in his 90's. Each called the other "Mike"; it was very cool to hear them greet each other. Carter also had a mentor named Dukes. We called him Mr. Dukes.  Carter, Juanita (Dukes daughter), Dukes in 1980's. . It was Dukes that instructed young O.C. on how to make money by hustiling people. One of Carter's entry level jobs was working in the Hudson Hotel in Oklahoma City in 1937; under the tutorship of Mr. Dukes. When O.C. moved to Detroit, he had various jobs working in the factories. But after World War II, Carter decided that working for others was not his style. In fact, he told me even when I graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in engineering, that I would never make as much money as him. His thinking was that in order to make "Real" money, one has to be self-employed. So in the late 1940's, Carter started to apply his hustiling skills learned in Oklahoma. My father (O.C.) worked midnights in the hotel's as a bellhop. During the day he tried to sleep. This was because O.C. was an insomniac of sorts. Carter did not discuss his job much with his wife Gerteal. All she knew was that he always had money and paid the bills. Carter's con was working the hotels at night as a panderer. Being a people person, Carter had contacts across all walks of life; including politicians, police, doctors, and ordinary street john's. He did this for about ten years. In this timeframe, Carter was busted several times for his work. He had to spend a lot of money paying lawyers to keep from going to jail. But one time he lost and had to spend about 90 days in the slammer. I remember, because he missed my high school graduation because he was locked up. Five years later he missed my college graduation for the same reasons. So after this experience, his game as a pander was too risky, so Carter started working The Numbers Game. One thing about O.C., was he always found a way to make a dollar. Many of his friends were also into numbers (aka policy). Carter traveled in a "Rat Pack" circle of five that hung out together. This pack drank, partied, and did much of the crazy stuff that Sinatra, Sammy, Dean, Joey, and Peter did. But with all of Carter's transgressions, he never smoked, drank only in a social setting, and did not monkey with drugs. However he did puff on cigars and cigarettes; never inhaling, just to fit in with the crowd.

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