Zola McDonald Carter, 89, of Thomasville passed away on Thursday evening, April 29, 2021 at Piedmont Crossing.
She was born on Sept 16, 1931 to the late Charles and Harriet Parker McDonald. Zola became a follower of Jesus Christ at an early age in Vacation Bible School. Thus, she began a lifelong love of living sent, of being on mission with Christ, learning and doing missions. As a child she belonged to GA’s, as a teenager to youth on mission, and as an adult, a lifelong member of Women’s Missionary Union.
Zola had a passion for music. She would sing her favorite hymns while playing piano at home. At church she enjoyed singing with the choir. In fact, she met her future husband, George, while singing in the choir at Green Street Baptist Church. With the approval of Zola’s mother Hattie, they began to date. The fact that George gave rides to Hattie in his new car probably helped to win her over in giving Zola’s hand in marriage. After a lovely wedding at Green Street in High Point, Zola moved to Thomasville where George was raised and began 58 years of married life. They joined Carolina Avenue Baptist Church (later becoming Carolina Memorial Baptist Church) which was in the same block as their new home. Zola was surrounded by family; George’s parents and some siblings lived in the same block and he brought Hattie to live next door. Hattie would play a major role in the physical and spiritual care of their 4 children.
As a teen, Zola worked at the ‘dime store’, and that work ethic continued after their marriage. After her first year at High Point College, she married, and then used what she learned as an Administrative Assistant using shorthand. Later she joined George in working at the Post Office and became the first female rural carrier in Thomasville. (She was known to give a book of stamps as Christmas gifts or birthday presents.) After retirement, she worked part time at Mills Home Baptist Orphanage.
Even though she worked outside the home, she was an excellent cook. Every week she made a scratch cake: graham cracker, coconut, prune, pineapple upside down, banana pudding. You name it, she could bake it. Vegetables were also on the table from George’s garden. George enjoyed Zola’s cooking so much that he asked her to stay home on Sunday morning and have a hot meal ready for him when he got home from going to church with the children. But Zola refused! She was not going to miss her worship time! So, they compromised; George put something on the stove to slow cook before they all went to church!
Zola and George planned family outings. Every summer vacation was spent at Nags Head and Kitty Hawk on the Outer Banks. George would fish and Zola would take the children to the beach or the whole family might trek on the famed giant sand dunes. As the children got older Zola wanted to venture out into new places. She had a bubbly personality and would begin conversations with everyone, and was interested to know if they were going to church too. When her own children married or moved away to school, she regularly visited them letting them know they were still loved. Handwritten letters were often sent. Grandchildren were her great joy. She would read to them, pick them up from school and buy them a snack, or baby sit. Summer vacations was a time for new adventures with them, whether going to Disney or the Statue of Liberty.
While she was looking after family and involved in their spiritual growth, she also made time for her own spiritual growth. Bible studies like ‘Experiencing God’ or ‘Share Jesus Without Fear’ helped her grow in her walk with Christ. She often had Bible verses taped to mirrors or the wall to memorize. When she had to move to Piedmont Crossing because of Parkinson’s Disease, she would ask family or sitters to read the Bible or ‘Missions Mosaic’ to her. Piedmont Crossing had a Christian focus, and Zola loved going to any daily service or singing offered. Sometimes, Green Street Church would come and sing and so would Carolina Memorial Church. Even though her memory would fail, she still would sing “Jesus loves Me” and say “I love you”.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, George Carter, Sr.; a son, George Carter, Jr. and wife Susan; a brother, Charles McDonald, Jr. Surviving are three children, June Garrou (Albert), Susan Wilson (Jon), Joan Carlton (Eddie) all of Thomasville; three grandchildren, Jacqueline Wilson, Kelly Rahman (Shoumik), Jonathan “J.D.” Daniel Wilson; extended family and church family.
A graveside service will be held on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at 11:00 AM at Holly Hill Memorial Park with Rev. Tim Landreth officiating. Mrs. Carter will lie in repose on Monday, May 3, 2021 from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM at the J.C. Green and Sons funeral home in Thomasville. Memorials may be directed to Carolina Memorial Baptist Church (Lottie Moon Christmas Offering). Online condolences may be directed to the family at www.jcgreenandsons.com.
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