Written by Carl Peters
I was born in Midland many many years ago, but I still have fond memories of growing up in Midland. I remember days during the summer after breakfast getting on my bike, joining other friends and staying gone most of the day. I would stop at a friend’s house and call my mother to let her know where I was during the day. Midland was a safe place for kids in those days. A favorite place to go was the caliche pits where we would catch horny toads. I also remember when I was around l O years old going to MHS basketball games. During half time they would let kids go on the court and shoot around. I always did that and dreamed of one day being on the high school team. That dream came true.
I went to West Elementary all 6 years. I do remember most the guys had the weird hair cut with a burr except the front was left long like a regular hair cut. I went to the First Presbyterian and George Bush Senior was my Sunday school teacher. We moved to Houston for the 7th grade and to Baytown for the 8th grade. For the 9th grade we moved back to Midland and I went to San Jacinto Junior High. I think it was a junior high dance where Roy Orbison and his band played. Then on to good old MHS. After basketball practice, we would unlock a window in the dressing room, so we could sneak into the gym and play on the weekends. One weekend a cop caught us and called the school counselor (Mr. Mashburn) and he gave us hell, but we did not go to jail.
I went Austin College, a small Presbyterian school in Sherman, Texas. I played basketball for four years and had fun but did study some. I graduated with a degree in mathematics with a minor in physics. I moved to Richardson, Texas which was just north of Dallas. I was hired by The Southwest Center for Advanced Studies as computer analyst/programmer, I married my college sweetheart (I had to beg her to marry me) Kay Crawford, and I started graduate school at SMU in computer science. While working at The Southwest Center, the scientists I worked for had a mass spectrometer that was on an Apollo mission. I got to go to Houston and was in the scientists control room that was right next to the mission control room. We got to view and hear all the conversions that came from the mission control room. That was really neat. I got a master degree in computer science from SMU.
Over the next 4 years Kay and I had three children. The oldest is a boy Scott, and two girls Kristi and Kari. The last one, Kari, Kay slipped in on me, but I am now glad she did. What a great family we have.
The Southwest Center for Advanced Studies became The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) where I worked for a year. My college mentor started a company called Telpar which he asked me to join. We created software that would test the logic of printed circuit boards. After two years at Telpar, UTD asked me to rejoin them, which I did. I became the Director of Academic and Administrative Computing for UTD. I also taught computer science and Management Information Systems courses. I did this for 10 years
As we completed our years at MRS, I was enrolled in the Chicago Art Institute and the University of Chicago to pursue a career in medical illustration. Over that summer 50 years ago however, I surrendered to a call to enter the ministry.
Over the years I’ve continued to dabble in art, primarily painting watercolors. I did cartoons and caricatures for various publications in college and seminary and was cartoonist for a medical newspaper in Oklahoma City when we lived there. A gallery in NE Tennessee and one on the outer banks of North Carolina carried my paintings of subjects from those areas, and one of my paintings was chosen as the cover for the Storytelling Magazine, which has international distribution.
The highlight of these past fifty years, however, has been my marriage to Ginger, whom I met in the fall after we graduated. We have three wonderful children, with three impressive spouses and we have four grandchildren. Ginger and I have been married 45 years, and she has been a constant source of immeasurable blessing for me. Our second child died at the age of three months, and in spite of the eight years of formal education for ministry and five years of post-graduate training and graduate education, it was transcending Marcia’s death that was my true preparation for ministry. I served parish in St. Louis County and interims in several cities, but the majority of my career was spent as a pastoral educator in hospitals in Kansas City, Oklahoma City, and Johnson City, TN. In the latter site I served as Director of Pastoral Care for an I I-hospital system in the Smoky Mountain region of Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. (It was there that I learned to do downhill skiing and thrived on whitewater paddling.)
I was in the right place at the right time as administration at Truman Medical Center in Kansas was interested in developing Hospice Care of Mid-America, of which I was cofounder and which enabled me to be involved in the early days of hospice development in the US, including speaking at national meetings and being the first nominating committee chair and first bylaws committee chair of the National Hospice Association.
Developing and directing a clinical ethics program for the hospital system in Tennessee and teaching bioethics in theological, nursing, medical, and healthcare related schools became the pinnacle of my career and led to recognition as Department Director of the Year by the Tennessee Hospital Association in 2004.
Upon retiring in 2006, I did not feel used up and wanted to continue part-time in some professional capacity. Of the available options, moving to the Ozarks of Arkansas and Missouri to pastor a small church of retirees from the north central states was the most desirable. This has brought us closer to two sets of our children and their families (in Oklahoma City) and our one surviving parent (Ginger’s mother in St. Louis). When we lived in Kansas City I canoed all the streams in southern Missouri. When we lived in Oklahoma City, I canoed all the streams in NW Arkansas. Now we live right in the
middle of all that, and for me it has been like coming home to a place I never lived
We live in a combination resort, retirement center, and country club (with 27 holes of golf) all rolled into one, and we love it here. We have plenty of room, so if you want to vacation in the Ozarks, come see us!
Remember Carl as excellent high school BB player. Excellent article.