A Life Lived: Roberta Carter was devoted to her family, neighbors

Published 2:41 pm Tuesday, October 5, 2021

BY ROZELLA HARDIN
Editorial Director
rozella.hardin@elizabethton.com
An old Chinese Proverb says “A good neighbor is a priceless treasure.” And, for Roberta Carter, a long-time resident of Pine Street, it was all about being a good neighbor. In fact, “Bert” as she was known to family and friends, was probably among the last of the long-time residents on her street. She was 86 years old when she died Sept. 4.
Bert was the widow of Bill Carter, former Elizabethton fire chief. And, wherever Bill went, Bert went, and whatever Bill did, Bert did, too, if she could. Her daughter, Tina, shared that her mother often fed the firemen who worked for Bill. “If there was a big fire that required the firemen being on the scene for a period of time, my mother often made sandwiches and took to them. I remember when the Capitol Theater burned, she cooked for the firemen and they took turns coming to the house to eat. She stood behind Dad and his firemen in everything,” Tina said.
She added that one of the favorite things she made for the firemen were eclairs. “Mom enjoyed making them, and the firemen enjoyed getting them,” Tina added. 
As long as Bill was able he played in a softball league for old-timers (people over 70.). “They went everywhere to play softball and Mom went too. They traveled to Florida, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and other places. They also rode the motorcycle together. Mom and Dad enjoyed growing old together,” Tina said. 
Tina noted the couple often took short trips to Pigeon Forge and to Shatley Springs to eat when they were “motorcycle people.”
The couple had been married 59 years when he died in 2014.
Many remember Bert as a “porch person.” Bill suffered from dementia before his death as did Bert, and they both enjoyed sitting on the front porch and talking to neighbors as well as people who regularly walked by their home during the day. “After Dad died, the people in the neighborhood were her lifeline,” Tina said.
Bert for many years worked at Raytheon. “She probably worked there for 40 years,” said Tina.”
Bob and Bert lived on the Race Street end of Pine Street, but until recent years she knew everyone that lived on the street, as well as neighbors on Race Street, and even some on Cottage Avenue and Mill Street. “She loved her neighbors and enjoyed being there for them. They were a close-knit group,” said Tina.
Bert enjoyed gardening and for many years grew a small garden in her backyard. She also enjoyed cooking.
One of the things she loved best was her church, and she was faithful to the church, attending it and supporting the activities. For many years she and Bill attended First Christian Church, Elizabethton, but in recent years Bert had attended church with her sister at New Liberty Free Will Baptist Church. “In fact, she was a member there,” said Tina.
Tina was Bert and Bill’s only child. Their only granddaughter was Courtney Vanover, who lives in Pound, Va., and has a daughter, Lexi.
Now that Bert is gone, her home is for sale, and perhaps the new owners will enjoy sitting on the porch as much as Bert did, and, hopefully, will be good neighbors, too.
Pine Street just won’t be the same without Roberta Carter. As a neighbor nearby shared: “She was someone to be trusted, was there if you needed someone, and really cared about people. We surely will miss her.”