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Family, friends mourn loss

From “God is Love” to the 1965 classic about what the world needs, made popular by American lyricist Hal David and composer Burt Bacharach, love remains a theme many have not grasped, but Selma resident Frank Carter knew it best.

To many, Frank was a loving person to his wife Tara, his daughter and his six brothers and sisters and their children. To others, he was simply “the best.”

On his way to a routine checkup in Montgomery with Tara and two nieces Monday, Frank and Tara were killed in a one-vehicle accident on U.S. Highway 80. The couple left behind a grieving family — including their daughter Portia, 12, and friends.

Darlene Carter-Fletcher, the baby of the family, spoke highly of her younger brother’s devotion.

“He was loving and caring and fun and all the wonderful things you could look for in a person, all the wonderful things God made us to be,” Darlene said. “He had a truly rich love for God. Everyone that met him just loved him. He gave us his time, worked with the youth. He was an all-around good guy. He never met a stranger.”

Both Darlene and Frank were born in Germany to a military father. The two later grew up in Selma. Frank graduated from Selma High School in 1986 and received a dual degree from Concordia College-Selma afterward.

Growing up and even into adulthood, the Carters were very close.

“We just had a bond — I just can’t describe it,” Darlene said as she reminisced. “My mom said we should’ve been twins; we (my family) spent every waking moment with him; we sang together every Sunday … people know him from his singing. My daughter, who was in the accident, spent every single day with him.”

A self-taught musician, Frank performed with various music groups and wrote many songs and poems.

“God took his hands and taught him how to play — he learned first by ear,” Darlene said. “He didn’t have any formal training. He’s very talented. He played bongos, drums, guitar; his main instrument was the keyboard and piano. He (also) had a way with words.”

Frank’s trust in God, Darlene said, helped him to love others immensely, a trait he got from their mother.

“He had a strong belief — a strong faith,” Darlene said. “Everything he did and said exemplified God. She instilled in us to put our trust and our faith in God. It never left us; we always held on to that through good times and bad. Our faith in God has truly kept us.”

And for the couple’s daughter Portia, who is a special-needs child, Darlene said she plans to be the primary caretaker.

“The family hasn’t yet made a decision (about) who would care for her,” Darlene said.

Darlene’s daughter, Kwamikh, survived Monday’s accident and was discharged Wednesday according to family members.

“He’s my all,” Kwamikh said.

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