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Nelda Joy Parks Carter

Nelda Carter Pic

Nelda Joy Parks Carter was born on October 14, 1932 in Crockett, Texas. She was the first of five children born to Otis Mancil Parks and Essie Coon Parks. Being nine years older than her next sibling, she spent much of her childhood at both of her grandmother’s homes playing with cousins. After finishing 7th grade, she contracted typhoid fever. Nelda survived by the grace of God. She trusted the Lord as her personal savior at age 12. By age 15, she knew that God was calling her to special service.

She graduated from Crockett High School in 1949. While just a child of 16, she enrolled in East Texas Baptist College. Her time at ETBC was inspirational and amazing. While there, she worked on campus and was active in the Young Women’s Auxiliary, Yearbook, Choir and Baptist Student Union. Nelda also served as class officer, received the President’s Award, was named Shamrock Queen and a Call Out Girl. She graduated ETBC with a Bachelor of Arts in 1953.

Following graduation, Nelda worked to earn money to enroll in Southwestern Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth. While in Seminary, she attended school and worked at two churches in Dallas, for two years. By this time, she knew that her calling was to work with youth. Nelda’s first youth director position was at First Baptist Church in Abilene. This would prove to be a monumental decision for her. While in Abilene, she was set up on a blind date by her future sister-in-law and friend, Jerry Carter Spears. Charles wrote to her later in life, “To Nelda Joy Parks Carter, who had the courage to love and marry a new Christian and then enrich his life for over 40 years. She enriches mine still, thanks be to God!”

Nelda’s next church would be South Main Baptist Church in Houston where she and Charles L. Carter, jr. were married on Thanksgiving Day, 1960. Her marriage to Charles came with the blessing of his daughter, Susan Nicholson Carter. Charles was practicing law in Baltimore, Maryland and the couple made the move and remained there until 1969. They both volunteered in the youth program at University Baptist Church. Nelda also taught homebound students in Maryland. Lifelong friends were made in Maryland. While there, they were blessed with two children, Charles L. Carter, III and Sarah Parks Carter.

Upon returning to Crockett, Nelda was a stay at home mom, but was very busy. She volunteered at Crockett Elementary School organizing games for recess that she and other moms led. An officer of PTO, she helped with many activities. Nelda volunteered in the community and church. Many a youth after church gathering was held in the Carter home and together, they chaperoned a multitude of trips. She also opened The Book Mart in the 1970s.

On March 20, 1980, Nelda and Charles’ son, Chad, passed away from a heart defect. Through anguish and heartache, they were able to minister to other parents who also suffered the heartbreak of the loss of a child. Two years later, she began teaching at Crockett High School.   The class would be Junior English…Chad’s class. Teaching brought healing and she found a huge love in coaching ACADEC.

She served on the Board of the Monroe Crook Home, Board of Trustees of East Texas Baptist University and was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma. East Texas Baptist University honored her as a Golden Lightkeeper in 2008. Nelda thoroughly enjoyed traveling with Charles, Sarah, Carter, Jack, Susan, Gaye and many close friends.

Life brought two of her greatest joys with Carter and Jack, her grandchildren. She was their caregiver, encourager, and biggest fan.

Nelda lived a Godly, loving, caring and selfless life. She opened her heart and her home for anyone, whether close friend or acquaintance. She lived a life that always gave glory to God. Countless hours were spent caring for her children, driving them to tennis tournaments, volunteering, hosting church youth activities, caring for her mother, sister and husband in time of need, caring for her grandchildren and countless moments giving of her time and heart for family and friends. Although her life could not be described as an easy one, she walked through this world with grace.

A special thank you to her personal caregivers and the staff of Enchanted Pines for your loving care the past 5 years. Also, thank you to Tim and Tammy Allen for taking her in as your own.

Nelda is survived by daughter, Sarah Carter Crow and husband, Mike of Crockett; step-daughter, Susan Nicholson Carter of Richmond, VA; grandchildren, Michael Carter Crow of College Station, Jack William Crow of Crockett; sisters, Carolyn Parks Goldman of Crockett, Sandra Kay Parks of Arlington, Diana Leah Parks of Lufkin; brother, James Otis Parks of Woodville; niece, Gaye Goldman Lehenbauer and husband, John of Longview; nephews, Charles Goldman of Crockett, Mark Carter Spears and wife, Nancy of Dillon, CO. She was preceded in death by husband, Charles L. Carter, jr.; son, Charles L. “Chad” Carter III; parents, Otis and Essie Parks; brother-in-law, C. A. Goldman.

Funeral services for Nelda Joy Parks Carter will be at 10:00 a.m. Friday, January 3, 2020 in the Callaway-Allee Memorial Chapel with Tim Allen officiating. Interment will follow in the Evergreen Memorial Park. Family will receive friends for visitation Thursday evening from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Callaway-Allee Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made Charles L. “Chad” Carter III Memorial Scholarship Fund at ETBU or The Monroe Crook House.





  1. Sarah, My condolences on your mother’s passing. Nelda was such a committed Christian. It was a joy to have known and worked with her for so many years. You have done a beautiful job of caring for her during these last years. May God give you and your family strength and comfort at this time. With loving memories, Jackie Westbrook

  2. Nelda Carter was always such an encourager to everyone. I am so thankful our paths crossed in this life. She always had a smile no matter the situation. I know she has been welcomed home by our Savior. My prayers are with all of her family. Sarah Clark

  3. Prayers for you, Sarah, and your family. Memories of Mrs. Carter are GAs crammed into her station-wagon going to sing or visit nursing homes and other elderly from our church; hotdog roasts and S’mores by the big oak tree in her yard; my English teacher; and a “parent trip” to my new home in Canyon where we all sat in the rain as long as possible to see TEXAS. Chad’s death was the first that many of us experienced, and your parent’s example of Christian faith spoke volumes, even to this day with their glorious reunion!!

  4. I am so sorry for your loss. Your mom was such a sweet lady. May God wrap His arms around you and console you during these difficult days.

  5. Sarah, l am so sorry I could not attend your Mom’s service, but she was a precious lady who I have considered my friend since high school. I asked the staff at EP to sign the register for me as I wanted to be there. I pray God brings you peace and comfort knowing you did everything possible for her. Love you!

  6. My sincere condolences go out to all of the Parks family–all of them great people! Nelda was, indeed, a very kind, loving, and gentle soul. She was extremely encouraging to me as I began my ministry when I left Central Baptist Church to attend Southwestern Seminary. I still have a book that she and Charles gave me from their days in Baltimore. Our families go way back at Central. Not to leave anybody out, but Essie and I have the same birthday (Aug. 19th) and we always exchanged best wishes on our b-day. Otis was a greatly respected businessman and a solid deacon and pillar of CBC. Pound for pound, James Otis was one of the greatest football players of all time at CHS. Granddaughter Gaye was in the very first Youth Choir that I directed at Central.

    The Parks name is still a very respected name in Crockett…

    “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” — Proverbs 22:1

    Jerry Garner
    Denton Texas

  7. I loved reading Jerry’s remarks – yes, James Otis Parks was a great football player. But, mostly, James Otis was a great friend. I am sorry we have not kept in touch. Sarah and all the family, I am so sorry for your loss. Nelda was a wonderful, sweet and caring person. She will be sorely missed. Love to you all, Earlynne McClain

  8. Nelda always asked about the person in front of her ~ along with all our loved ones! ~ AND she clearly cared, by the way she listened and responded. Always hospitable, and steadfastly faithful, she was quite an easy person to love and admire. God certainly used her life for the benefit of many! Such a dear lady.

  9. My condolences to your family. She was such a sweet lady and kind teacher.

  10. I am so sorry for your loss. Mrs. Carter’s was absolutely one of my favorite teachers at CHS, and a big reason I attended ETBU. She was kind and loving. Sending you love and light.

  11. I had the pleasure of spending time with Nelda who was a very good friend of my Mom, Carol Watson. She was the most delightful person and such a sincere and sweet lady. God bless her family. Fly high Nelda. You have certainly earned your wings.

  12. Sarah and family so sorry for your loss. Loved visiting with your Mother when she came in the antique store. She had a vast knowledge about antiques. She will be missed by us all!

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