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ABINGDON, Virginia – Patricia “Pat” Ringley McCarthy stays real.

She is a painter. She is a teacher. And she knows what it’s like to keep a marriage going; she has been with her husband, Henry, for 56 years.

McCarthy grew up in Bristol, on both sides of the Tennessee-Virginia border.

She lived with a grandfather for a time on Moore Street in Virginia. And she lived with her mom for a while on Anderson Street in Tennessee.

“I would walk all over Bristol and be with my uncles and aunts and all kinds of pets,” she recalls. “They had all kinds of pets. They had everything from snakes to monkeys.

McCarthy graduated from Tennessee High School in 1961. She graduated from East Tennessee State University in 1965 and also met her husband.

Years later, she taught English at the secondary level. She has also taught at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.

All the while she was painting.

” I like to paint. I’ve always done it, ”she said.

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Until a few years ago, the McCarthy couple had a home in Abingdon.

Today, they live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to be closer to their children and grandchildren.

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