How to spell Father's Day: K-I-D-S

| Saturday, June 15, 2013, 1:46 a.m.

Kids, kids, kids. His kids. Grandkids. Great-grandkids. School kids.

That's Perry Culver Sr.'s life in a nutshell.

The 87-year-old Connellsville resident's life has been kids — kids at home and in the classroom.

Culver came from a family of seven kids, and that's how many — seven — he and his wife, Nina, raised. Their brood has thus far produced 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, including 18-year-old great-grandson Haden Culver, who graduated on June 6 — 70 years to the date his great-grandpa Culver received a diploma from Dunbar Township High School.

Father's Day is always a big day at the Culver homestead. There's plenty to celebrate.

It's easy to list Perry Culver Sr.'s academic achievements. He holds several degrees in education from several universities. He was trained in cursive handwriting from P.O. Petersen, an art form largely abandoned in today's technological school systems, which he laments. He doesn't dabble in email or eBay, yet he was the educator who saw to it that Connellsville Area School District entered the computer age back in the 1970s. A longtime math teacher — instructing algebra, trigonometry and geometry as well as general math — he served as curriculum director for the school district for more than 20 years, retiring in 1987.

Through it all, he kept one thing in mind above all else: “What is best for the kids?”

His other achievements — those of family ties — come from the heart.

He met his wife Nina after World War II, during which he served with the 1st Marine Division in the South Pacific. Nina grew up in Oakland, Md., which is where Culver got his first job as a teacher after earning his degree at Bethany College in West Virginia.

“I met him, and that was it,” recalled Nina, 84, of their first date.

They married in 1952 and that same year, moved back to the Connellsville area, where Culver grew up. He was born in 1925 in Leisenring, and his family moved to Brookvale, a suburb of the village of Trotter, which is a suburb of Connellsville.

He and Nina have lived in several Connellsville area homes during the past 60 years or so — most of those years on Connellsville's South Side. Seven children and 16 grandchildren/great-grandchildren later, they feel blessed.

“We could not have asked for more,” said Nina Culver, who proudly keeps track of her husband's family legacy — a quest that can be traced back 350 years to Culver's English roots.

“Our lives have been wonderful,” added Perry Culver Sr., who looks forward to celebrating Father's Day with his family on Sunday.

Laura Szepesi is a freelance writer.

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