ASHLAND, Ky. – Virginia “Ginny” Carter was officially a mother to three children: Kenny, Bo and Susie.
Unofficially? Well, they lost count years ago.
Ginny Carter enjoyed the 1960s more than the Beatles did. While Liverpool England’s band was punching out hit after hit in the decade, Ginny Carter watched “her boys” in the Ashland American Little League do likewise – only on the baseball field.
She was as much a fixture in Central Park as some of the beautiful trees that line the baseball fields in one of Ashland’s most picturesque settings.
Ginny loved the park and all it has meant to so many. She was a regular at the CP-1 baseball reunions and hall of fame ceremonies. Her goal this year was to make it to watch her son Bo be inducted on Aug. 19. But God had other plans and took this sweet 96-year-old woman to a heavenly hall of fame on Wednesday night with family by her side.
Ginny Carter is a part of Ashland’s rich sports heritage, part of the landscape that makes this one of the greatest places to live and at least part of the reason why many “boys” from the 1960s era became great men.
They will remember the mother who came to the games on Saturday wearing her lucky gold shorts and carrying a picnic basket. She was there for the day and so were her children. That’s just how she rolled. Ginny didn’t watch only her son’s games with the Tigers. No, that wasn’t enough. She watched – and cheered – for everybody else’s teams, too. Single games were played Monday through Thursday and then everybody played on Saturdays. She was there for all of them.
Ginny’s boys won back-to-back state championships in 1963 and 1964 and came within a game of reaching the Little League World Series in ’63. They were also valuable cogs in the Ashland Tomcat baseball dynasty era from 1965 to 1969 that produced the first state championship three-peat from 1966-68.
If these boys weren’t playing Little League games that counted in the standings then they were likely somewhere in her neighborhood or inside her house. She would feed them, watch over them, counsel them and even scold them when necessary.
She had a welcoming home with an open-door policy to her children’s friends. Ginny was a mom’s mom, a role model and one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met.
She loved her own children, but she cared for everybody else’s too. She and her late husband, David, often made sure those who didn’t have the best of family situations had what everybody else had. They didn’t want any attention for their kindness. The reward was in doing the deed itself.
This is what you need to understand about Ginny Carter: She gave more than she received and that’s the way she wanted it.
She worked 75 years as a volunteer for the American Red Cross. You read that right: 75 years of volunteer work.
Who does that? She was given the Clara Barton Lifetime Commitment Award in 2013 by the Northeast Kentucky Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Even as she grew older, she remained active in community affairs and events. Her daughter, Susie, has made her mother’s golden years simply that with a heart that could only have come from Ginny. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Susie was such a blessing to her sweet mother as a friend, caregiver and devoted daughter.
I will miss seeing Ginny next Saturday when the third CP-1 Hall of Fame class is inducted. So will everybody else, especially those men quickly approaching 70 who she once proudly called “her boys.”