“There is a lot of room for love in the human heart.  I have loved each of my husbands very much,
and I have fond memories of all of them.”
-Cary Johnston, October 2011

Allen Wolf (Born September 2, 1935):
(Photo courtesy of
Cary Johnston)
Allen and Cary were married on June 9, 1956, between their junior and senior years of undergraduate schooling at Vanderbilt University.  Allen was Cary’s first real love.  Cary claims “I had never felt that way about a boy before I met Allen.  I would date around in college, but Allen was the only boy that made me think, ‘Wow, I could marry this man.’”  Allen is the father of Cary’s four children.
Cary and Allen were divorced in 1977. Although this was a very hard time for Cary and she thought she wondered if she’d ever be able to move on, she grew as a person, eventually moved on, and learned to love again.

Gene Johnston (Born October 24, 1927):
(Photo courtesy of
Cary Johnston)

Gene and Cary were married on June 16, 1988, after meeting in Mooresville.  Cary fondly looks back on these years, calling them “the best years of her life.”  They had a wonderful relationship with one another’s family.  According to Cary, “Gene loved family.  He loved having my children come to visit.  He could not have been better to my children and grandchildren than he was, and they all adored him.  We just had a really ideal life together.”

Unfortunately, Gene died on April 1, 1999, after a three-month illness.  Cary claims “I was heartbroken by Gene’s death, but I survived.”  Once again, Cary thought she would never marry again.

Below is the first page of a letter written by Gene to Cary’s mother (courtesy of Cary Johnston).  According to Cary, “he sent it to my mother during her illness as a way of saying ‘good job raising Cary.’” You can click on the letter to make it larger, and a transcription of the entire letter follows.

Dear Katherine,
     You might call this a report on your daughter.  We both stay pretty busy but Cary is amazing.  I’m certain she has discussed her activities with you.  But at this moment, I am filling in for her at the store while she attends a downtown commission meeting (she is treasurer).  She will not be able to help me put up vertical blinds, which she sold to her friends in Davidson tonight, because she has “Women’s Reach.”
     She finds time to keep immaculate financial and inventory records of the store, still keeps up with her Davidson friends and her bridge club, and has become a respectful and influential force on the town planning board, which she frequently chairs.
     Her business has grown at a respectable rate in spite of frequent obstacles that small businesses have.  The amazing thing is that she has done all of this without making me feel neglected at all.  I am proud of her and encourage these activities.
     We still have a social life, and fortunately neither of us requires more than Friday and Saturday dinners out.  I think we enjoy each other.
     We both think about you a great deal.  Well, Cary thinks about you constantly.  There is nothing as important and nothing that would interfere with her doing for you what you want and when you want it.  I understand that.
     Please give our love to Nancy.  We both think about her a great deal.
With love,
Click on the audio file below to hear Cary reflect on her time with Gene.

Everett (Van) Van Wulfen (Born December 19, 1918):
(Photo courtesy of
Cary Johnston)

Van and Cary were married on January 27, 2006.  They both moved into The Pines in July of 2005 and bonded over their love of bridge.  Cary describes their marriage as “extremely happy–we went overseas together twice.  We had wonderful dinner dates at The Pines, and we were always playing bridge together.  Our marriage seemed like a long vacation.  We just had so much fun together.”

Van was diagnosed with colon cancer a year and a half after meeting Cary, and died shortly after.

Edwin (Ed) Townsend (Born March 20, 1929):
(Photo courtesy of
Cary Johnston)

Cary and Ed were married on August 22, 2011.  Ed is a Prebysterian minister who moved into The Pines a few years after Cary.  They were friendly at first, and often went out with a group of friends.  Three years after meeting one another, they decided to get married and are happily living together today.

Click below to hear Cary talk about the first time she met Ed.

Listen to the audio below to hear Cary’s hope for her marriage with Ed.


The text, video, audio, and website are the result of interviews conducted by Ally Miller,
Davidson College Class of 2012, in the fall of 2011.

© 2011 Kristi S. Multhaup, Ph.D. | Davidson College | Davidson, NC 28035 | Phone: 704.894.2008
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