Life's Railway to Heaven

Life is like a mountain railroad, With an engineer that's brave;
We must make the run successful, From the cradle to the grave.
Watch the curves, the fills, the tunnels, Never falter, never fail.
Keep your hand upon the throttle, And your eye up on the rail.

Chorus: Blessed Savior that will guide us, 'Till we reach that blissful shore,
Where the angels wait to join us, In Thy praise for ever more.

You will roll up grades of trial; You will cross the bridge of strife;
See that Christ is your conductor; On this light'nin train of life;
Always mindful of obstruction, Do your duty, never fail;
Keep your hand upon the throttle, And your eye upon the rail.

You will often find obstruction; Look for storms of wind and rain;
On a hill, or curve, or trestle. They will almost ditch your train;
Put your trust alone in Jesus; Never falter, never fail;
Keep your hand upon the throttle, And your eye upon the rail.

As you roll across the trestle, Spanning Jordan's swelling tide.
You'll behold the Union depot, Into which your train will glide.
There you'll meet the Superintendent, God the father, God the son,
With the hearty, joyous plaudit, "Weary pilgrim, welcome Home!"


James William Carraway               submitted by Kip Stadnicki

14 years ago, James William Carraway married Ernestine Connell Stadnicki. They had known each other fifty years ago and became re-acquainted when she was visiting her sister and brother-in-law Tommie and Johnny Lombardino of Minden, LA.

Ernestine was born and raised in Dubberly, LA. She married and moved to Pennsylvania in 1946 and had four daughters, Toni Bahnak of Apollo PA, Catherine Charlton of Sacramento, CA, Ava Rokop of Orlando, FL and Christie Cave of Atlanta, GA and a son, Kip Stadnicki of North Huntingdon, PA. She became a widow in 1976.

They made their home in Sarepta, LA. until last year when, on the request of Ernestine's children, they moved to Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

J.W., Kip, and J.W.'s neighbor, Gene Gower, formed a band and travel around the Greensburg area playing concerts for the residents of retirement and nursing homes. The band has recorded 1 CD and are planning on recording another soon.

JW has also been attending Bluegrass Festivals, and jam sessions. His Jimmie Rodgers songs are a big hit with audiences. He has been sharing memories with many Railroaders everywhere he goes. The Carraways have done some traveling around the state of Pennsylvania. A tour of the Martin Guitar Factory in Nazareth Pa. was a favorite as was the steam locomotive ride at Strasburg.

Although, JW misses his friends and family in Louisiana, he is enjoying the family gatherings in Pennsylvania. In addition to his 5 stepchildren, he has 9 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.

Kip Stadnicki

Singer, Preacher         Submitted by Robert Stephens

Dr. Rev. James W. Carraway

NORTH HUNTINGDON, PA - Dr. Rev. James W. Carraway, 85, of North Huntingdon, Pa. formerly of Sarepta, La passed away on Monday, March 10, 2008 in Baldock Health Care Center, North Huntingdon , PA. Born in Sarepta on January 30, 1923 he was a son of the late T. Gentry and Gertrude (Bravenger) Carraway. A US Army Air Corp veteran, he served during World War II. After working as an engineer with the railroad, he entered the Baptist ministry and obtained his Doctorate of Divinity. He traveled for many years with the Billy Graham Evangelical Association and performed on his own radio and television ministry. His home church was the Pilgrim Home Baptist Church of Benton, La. Outside of the church, he was very active in his community as a member of the Masonic Lodge, the Shriner's and the American Legion Post all in Spring Hill , La. In addition to his parents, James was preceded in death by a sister, Irma Lee Staton and a brother, John Carraway.

He is survived by his loving wife, Ernestine (Connell) Carraway, also of North Huntingdon; five daughters, Paula Richardson and husband Ron of Robeline, La., Toni Bahnak and husband Jerry of Apollo, Pa, Catherine Cooper and husband Bert of Sacramento, Ca., Ava Rokop of Alte Monte Springs, Fl., Christie Faulk and husband Frank of Marietta, Ga., and a son, Stan Stadnicki and wife Ann of North Huntingdon, Pa; five sisters, Muriel Staton of Haughton, La., Shirley Kreid and husband Frank of Haughton, La., Helen Layssard of Spring Hill, La., Quinnie Martin of Haughton, La., and Peggy Adkins and husband Aaron of Sarepta, La.; nine grandchildren and four great-grandchi ldren; and numerous nieces, nephews, and life long friends.  James was also the uncle of country music star, Trace

Funeral services were private. Arrangements have been entrusted to the McCLURE & JOBE FUNERAL HOME AND CREMATION SERVICE, Inc. 112 N. Second Street, Jeannette, PA 15644 (724) 527-2168.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Pilgrim Home Baptist Church, 16258 Highway 157, Benton, La. 71006 . For additional information or to send an online message of condolence, please visit

 Rev. Carraway graduated from MHS in 1942.

 If you have a memory of Dr. Carraway you would like to share e-mail us at mindenmemories@

  and we will post it here.


     If you have a memory of Dr. Rev. J. W.  Carraway we would like to include it with this memory.


Sherry I forwarded your update to my cousin, Becky Jeter Anderson... Her husband, Rodger retired from the railroad..
Here's her reply and she said it was O.K. to post this story  Thought it was a good little story..
 Leverne Langheld Kidd


We asked J. W. to marry us in 1965.  Unfortunately he was making an album on the date we set for the wedding and he was unable to be there.
He was an engineer with Rodger's dad and went to school with Mother.   He sang at Rodger's mother & daddy's funeral.  You remember they were both killed in an automobile accident in 1962 (five months after we started dating).
One time when he was at the house I remember Daddy asking how he could play golf and not swear.  He told us that he did not swear but when he spit it would burn a hole in the grass of the course!!
What a special man.  He will always have a place in our hearts.....one we both knew before we knew each other.
Thanks again,
Becky Jeter Anderson

Services set today for well-known gospel singer
Staff report

A memorial service has been set for 2 p.m. today at New Sarepta Baptist Church in Sarepta for gospel singer James "J.W." Carraway. Carraway, who was known as the "Singing Engineer," died March 10 in North Huntingdon, Pa.

He was 85.

"He was one of the Southern Baptists' greatest singers," said the Rev. Joe Aulds, a Ruston evangelist who will conduct the memorial service in Carraway's hometown. "He knew every song that had ever been written." Aulds, a former vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said Carraway, who also was a minister, was a sought-out singer for revivals.

According to the Web site "Memories of Minden," Carraway recorded
music for Zondervan Publishing House and once sang with the Minden Quartet.

He also traveled for many years with the Billy Graham Evangelical Association and performed on his own radio and television ministry, according to his obituary published in The Times at Shreveport.

A U.S. Army Air Corps veteran, he served during World War II. After working as an engineer with the railroad, he entered the Baptist ministry and obtained his doctorate of divinity.

Survivors include his wife, Ernestine Carraway.

Submitted by Sandra Pullig Smith, Class of 1955