Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: Couple share their secrets of a happy 77-year marriage

“In this day and age, some marriages don’t last 77 days,” said Rotha Minter, who is married to C.W. Minter. “In September, the Good Lord willing, we will celebrate our 77th wedding anniversary.”

Rotha Minter met her future husband when they both attended a “two-room schoolhouse” in rural Georgia. “He used to stop by the house to talk to my aunt. But I knew his eyes were on me. I was four years younger and my grandmama was very strict. So he waited until I was 15, and then he asked her if he could court me.”

It was during the depression and Rotha said she was tired of picking cotton for five cents a bag. “My mother lived in Miami and when C.W. asked me to marry him, I said yes. My mind was already on moving to Miami,” she said with a chuckle.

After the couple married, they moved to the Seminola (the black area of Hialeah). C.W. Minter went to work for Pan Am airline and his wife stayed home to rear their six children. “He worked for Pan Am for 40 years, and rode his bicycle to work. Back then, we couldn’t afford a car.”

Rotha said she started a home day-care center so she could be with her children as they grew up.

The Minters moved back to Georgia in 2006, but recently visited family and friends here for the holidays. “We don’t get down to Miami too often anymore, but every month some of our children come to visit with us in Georgia,” Rotha said.

People often ask her their secret for staying married for such a long time. “I tell them it was love and the grace of God that has that kept us together. It was God’s goodness that kept the peace in our home and in our family. There have been misunderstandings between me and my husband, but divorce was never something we considered doing. We still love and enjoy each other’s company. And if young couples of today would learn to love through their problems, and talk to each other, they will be able to stay together, no matter what.”

I spoke to Rotha over the phone. When I told her how young she sounded, she laughed and said: “People are always telling me how young I sound. I look young, too. I don’t have a wrinkle in my face, and I’m 93.”

C.W., 97, and his “young” wife are the parents of six: James, Marvin, Howard, Mary M. Johnson, and Karen Lynn Rush, all of Miami, and Rose Marie Minter, who lives in Rentz, Georgia, near their parents. The are also the grandparents of more than 30; more than 40 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.

“We are five generations,” Rotha said proudly.

Booker T. Washington high school reunion trip

The Booker T. Washington Class of 1960 will sponsor a one-day trip to Eatonville, Florida, on Jan. 31 to attend the annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival.

The bus will leave 6 a.m. from the Golden Glades Terminal North parking lot and will depart Eatonville, six miles north of Orlando, for the return trip at 5:30 p.m.

This scholarship fundraiser cost $55 per person. An addition gate admission is $10 for adults, with free admission for children. Those ages 16-18 of age must show current student ID to be admitted free.

The festival will feature the music of Maze and Frankie Beverly and other actors and musicians.

If you want to go, call Cornelia Sands at 305-621-6412; Ramona Exum at 305-625-2961; or Jimmie Knowles at 786-356-2282 for tickets and more information. Don’t forget to bring along your own portable chair and a light sweater or jacket.

Miami Jewish Film Festival

You may purchase tickets now for the Miami Jewish Film Festival, which runs Jan. 15-29 in theaters across Miami-Dade County.

The movies will include many North American, U.S. and Florida premieres. Four of the international films have been nominated for Best Foreign Film Oscars.

This is the festival’s 18th year. It will feature 74 films from 20 countries; will host 50 filmmakers and special guests to include Nancy Spielberg, Bill Morrison and Lacey Schwartz. It is the largest Jewish cultural event in Florida.

The festival will open with the Florida premiere of the black comedy Mr. Kaplan, Uruguay’s official entry to the Oscar’s best foreign-language film category. It will close with the Florida premiere of The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films.

Tickets are $13 each for single tickets and $220 per person for full festival passes. For tickets and more information, please go online at: or call 305-573-7304.

Music at Temple Israel of Greater Miami

At 3 p.m. Sunday, Temple Israel of Greater Miami, 137 NE 19th St., will host two award-winning acts: recording artist and and composer Peri Smilow and Tizmoret, a Queens College Hillel’s student a capella group in concert.

Smilow has performed throughout North America and in Israel, Europe and Asia. She has released four recordings of original contemporary Jewish music. Her most recent release is Blessings.

Tismoret has a repertoire that includes classic Jewish melodies, American pop music and contemporary Israeli tunes. The group has six CDs and performed this past Hanukkah at the White House.

Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, $5 for children 2-12 and free for children 2 and under. Tickets are available in advance or at the door the day of the concert. For more information, call the temple office at 305-573-5900 or email

Beaux Arts Festival

City National Bank’s 64th Annual Beaux Arts Festival of Art will be Jan. 17-18 on the grounds of the Lowe Art Museum on the campus of the University of Miami.

For two days, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., more than 220 fine art exhibitors will display their art at the outdoor exhibit. The arts festival is recognized as one of the region’s most popular and is a South Florida tradition. It attracts thousands of visitors annually and offers works in 10 mediums for a variety of budgets.

This years festival will feature live music in the main stage tent; children’s entertainment, including free art activities for children ages 4-12 in the UHealth Family Fun Zone, and many dining options. Proceeds from the festival benefit the Lowe Art Museum, a Beaux Arts partner for 63 years.

Admission and parking are free.

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Friends and Neighbors, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.