What a wonderful life!
Ray Gene and Kathy (Bowles) McCarter will celebrate 50 years together on June 15.
It all began at Comanche High School in the early 1960s in a whirlwind ceremony in Wichita Falls, on the way to Lubbock Texas, where Ray Gene was stationed in the U.S. Air Force. That same year Tammi was born on the base.
Kathy and Tammi moved back to Comanche when Ray Gene went to serve in Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam in 67-68. Kathy finished high school and helped her Dad, Hambone, on the Brown 77 Bar Ranch.
Ray Gene returned from the war and moved his family to Chickasha, where he attended U.S.A.O. This was the true beginning of a great life.
Upon receiving his degree, Ray Gene accepted his first job at Okarche Public Schools, where he taught and drove a school bus. Kathy was busy with Tammi and a new baby boy, Clinton Henry, born in 1970.
Former Comanche Superintendent, Mr. Charles Holleyman offered Ray Gene a job in Mustang so we moved and Ray Gene accepted the head wrestling and assistant football job at Mustang Public Schools.
The school expanded unbelievably during our time there, the wrestling team became very exciting, and we had a tremendous success.
Our roots were always in southwest Oklahoma so when the job became available, we packed up the kids, now in the fifth grade and first grade, and moved to Waurika where Ray Gene excepted the job is high school principal and Kathy was the school secretary.
Kathy was born in Waurika and grew up in Addington, so we were excepted like family there. The years there were great, but around 1980 Central High offered Ray Gene the superintendent job. Tammi was a freshman and Clint was a 5th grader. We enjoyed Central High so much. Tammi graduated from there and was on the basketball team. Kathy began as an elementary secretary, but actually held down the duties of the principal because the principal had a class of her own. Our time at Central was such a blessing. The community accepted us and we loved all of them.
After seven years at Central, Marlow Public Schools hired Ray Gene as Superintendent. Tammi went to Cameron, and Clint went into high school, he played football and was exceptional. Kathy was also employed by the school system as elementary secretary. Clint graduated from Marlow and that is where we spent the last 10 years before retirement. The time spent in the Public School system was so rewarding and exciting.
Ray Gene accomplished a masters degree from Southwestern and a doctorate of education at OU. Tammi attended Cameron and now teaches at Waurika, and Clint attended Southeastern and taught at Clinton, Marlow, and Duncan where he coached football and wrestling. None of these accomplishments would have been obtainable, without the best wife and mother, Kathy, keeping everything going at home. She is the organizer, appointment keeper, cheerleader, homework tyrant, taxi driver, and so much more. She held our little family together during our public school years.
After retiring from teaching, Ray Gene was requested to continue helping education by becoming the State Representative for District 51. Twelve years Ray Gene served as a leader supporting his beloved education and another subject dear to his heart, Veterans Affairs.
In 2007, we lost our son, Clint, in a car accident at the age of 37. This was by far the hardest time in our life. We lost a wonderful young man and it has been a struggle.
Kathy and Ray Gene have lived a very successful 50 years together. They have accomplished and endured so many precious experiences and memories. Kathy has held down this crazy household and worked not only in the home, but alongside Ray Gene in the school system. She has been a wonderful mother to Tammi and Clint, grandmother to Brandye and Codye and great-grandmother to Cailye and Tye. She has gone through the loss of a son and the joys of great- grand babies. Ray Gene has also a accepted membership of the Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame and has become a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame among many others including his most rewarding, just being Fo Fo.
Fifty years together, wow, what a ride. We are excited to see what the next 50 holds for us.