Gary Carthan

Obituary of Gary Craig Carthan

"...Am I my brother's keeper?" Genesis 4:9KJV On July 2, 1965 in Trenton, New Jersey God blessed Rev. George W. Carthan, Sr. and Sarah Jane Margaret Godbolt Carthan with a son, Gary Craig Carthan. Affectionately known as Big Daddy, his birth fulfilled God’s purpose of ten as he was the youngest of ten children. He was a baby boy angel whose very presence, from the day he was born until the day God called him home, was a blessing. In the book of Ephesians, the Bible teaches us that every child is “God’s workmanship”. Craig was born with a divine mixture of vulnerabilities and strengths and couldn’t do many things other people easily take for granted. When some people looked at him, that’s what they saw—the things he couldn’t do. But that’s not what his family saw, and that’s not who he was. Craig’s vulnerabilities drew out the best in everyone who knew and loved him, and his strengths were a joy and marvel to behold. Rev. Carthan and his wife were incredibly strong people of faith and they provided a loving home where their children were taught about God and His great love. As his parents, they did not focus on what Craig could not do, rather they chose to focus on who God is and what He could do through them and their child. His mother, knowing that worship ushers you into God’s presence, had the family pray together every night. The children would give their testimony and recite a verse of scripture. Mom lovingly chose Psalm 122:1 for Craig. Gary attended the Burlington County Special Services School District and graduated at the age of twenty-one. Just as other families have similar traits, Craig was not unlike his brothers who are known for their physical strength and athletic ability. Craig had powerful arms and possessed amazing upper body strength. He never let his physical disability define him, nor let his wheelchair confine him. Craig had a zeal for life and enjoyed bowling, basketball, football, volleyball, and the thrill of the bumper cars at the amusement park. The Carthan family is gifted in the ministry of music, and Craig’s passion was music as well. Craig loved playing his keyboards at home and played the drums for his home church, Greater Faith Tabernacle, UHC in Bordentown. When the weather permitted, Craig could often be found sitting on the corner by his home in Fieldsboro under a shady tree listening to music on his headphones. His friends would blow their horns and Craig would wave to them as they drove by. In life, there are people who have so many blessings that Craig never had, and yet they don’t appreciate those blessings. They have good health, but they take it for granted. They can walk but they don’t know which way to go. They have arms but they don’t use them to reach out to others. They can speak but they don’t know how to tell others they love them. For Craig, that wasn’t a problem. Craig loved to celebrate holidays and special occasions with family. He looked forward to spending Christmas and his birthday at Ronald and Denise’s house, and Easter and Thanksgiving with Larry and Deborah at their home. Craig would express his love by playing your favorite song and never failed to remember your birthday. He would make you a tape or CD of gospel music and put a great deal of thought into making out his Christmas list to get each person a special gift. He also showed his love by allowing you to make his favorite rib sandwich. He would show that he felt comfortable enough to fall asleep because he trusted he’d be cared for by those around him, and he demonstrated his confidence in you by trusting you to shoulder his weight when he had to be lifted from the sofa and into his wheelchair. Craig inspired others to try harder. By seeing him work hard to overcome his own challenges, it reminded others to put forth greater effort as well. In fact, whenever he had to do something difficult or overcame an obstacle, he would proudly say, “I did it” and would smile shyly when praised. Craig taught us how to be happy because he took joy in simple things—joy in being around family, joy in watching his favorite television show, joy in using Mom’s pots and pans as his first set of drums and joy in eating his McDonald’s. Craig was an example of perseverance and inner strength for he never complained about what he couldn’t do. Through his disability, Craig gave the family many gifts. He gave the gift of compassion and care. He helped reveal the beautiful soul of his family members, for it was his family who day after day, month after month and year after year oversaw his care and tended to his needs. His dependence on God and others taught us the power of our interdependence. It is a special kind of dedication that enables people to put their own lives on hold so they can do everything possible to care for their loved one. It shows a deep, unrelenting love for a person to say: If you need help, I will help you. If you cannot talk, I will be your voice. If you cannot stand, I will support you. If you cannot walk, I will carry you. I am here for you and I will stay with you through it all.” That’s just what the Carthan family did. Craig gave the gift of perspective. He reminded us that most of our problems are not as great as we think they are, and that we should be grateful for what we have. We learned from Craig that we must savor the sweet, beautiful moments we have every day, because ultimately life is fragile and someday all too soon, we must say farewell. He taught us about kindness and patience, because it took those attributes to care for Craig. To tend to someone so completely, and to do it for so long, takes a dedication and a depth of love that can be difficult for others to comprehend. Craig gave us the gift of unconditional love. A love without condition, is perhaps the most beautiful and purest example of love. It is loving even when it is not easy. It’s loving because you simply can’t help but love and that is the greatest triumph of any life, to love and be loved, and to do so without limits. Craig’s absence is felt, because his angelic presence made a difference, and our remembrance of him should make us better. In addition to his family, Gary Craig was dearly loved and cared for by the nursing and administrative staff at Burlington Woods. Having resided there for the last thirteen years, he was their longest-term resident. Craig was a beautiful gift from God and was predeceased by his parents, Rev. George W. Carthan, Sr. and Sarah Jane Margaret Godbolt Carthan, and two sisters, Dolores A. and Helen L. Carthan. Craig leaves to cherish his memory and celebrate his life sister Debra L. Carthan of Hightstown, NJ; brothers: Rt. Rev. Dr. George W. Carthan, Jr. (Barbara) of New Castle, DE; Calvin J. Carthan, Sr. of Bordentown, NJ (Janet) of Marlton, NJ; Ralph D. Carthan, Sr. (Mary) of Delran, NJ; Ronald L. Carthan, Sr. (Denise) of Burlington Township, NJ; Larry K. Carthan, Sr. (Deborah) of Burlington City, NJ; Charles A. Carthan (Stefanie) of Florence Township, NJ; Godmother, Aunt Mary Reaves; Aunts: Nettie White and Viola Cobbs; nieces, nephews, cousins and a host of other relatives and church family. In answer to the question, “...Am I my brother's keeper?", the Carthan family can wholeheartedly say “Yes, I am”. Lovingly submitted, The Carthan Family
Share Your Memory of
Gary