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Bessie Lillian "Miss Lillian" Gordy Carter
Birth: Aug. 15, 1898
Richland
Stewart County
Georgia, USA
Death: Oct. 30, 1983
Americus
Sumter County
Georgia, USA

Author, Social Activist, Mother of US President Jimmy Carter. Fondly known as "Miss Lillian," she is remembered for her contribution to nursing in her home state of Georgia and as a Peace Corps volunteer in India, as well as her Southern charm and down-to-earth manner. Her father was the postmaster in Richland, Georgia who greatly influenced her liberal views. After the US entered World War I in April 1917, she volunteered to serve as a nurse with the US Army but the program was cancelled. She then took a job with the US Post Office at Richland before moving to Plains, Georgia in 1920 where she was accepted as a trainee at the Wise Sanitarium. In 1923 she completed her nursing degree at the Grady Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in Atlanta, Georgia and married businessman James Earl Carter. She "retired" from nursing in 1925 and worked as a nurse practitioner in the Plains community. Following the death of her husband in 1953, she left for Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama where she worked for over seven years as a dormitory housemother. A year after completing her service at Auburn, she returned to Georgia and managed a nursing home in Blakely. In 1966, at the age of 68, she applied and was accepted for the Peace Corps and after she received three months of training, she was sent to India where she worked at the Godrej Colony near Mumbai for almost two years, during which she aided patients afflicted by leprosy. After her son was elected as the 39th President of the US, she published two books during his Presidency in 1977, "Miss Lillian and Friends" and "Away from Home: Letters to my Family." In 1977 she appeared in a cameo, as herself, in the made-for-television movie, "Lucy Calls the President", starring actress Lucille Ball. In 1981 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and she died of the disease two years later at the age of 85. Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia established the Lillian Carter Center for International Nursing in honor of the work she did in India and The Atlanta Regional Office of the Peace Corps has named an award in her honor for volunteers over 50 who make the biggest contribution. In 2001, a major nursing center was dedicated in her honor in Plains, Georgia by Jimmy Carter in recognition of first years of service to the community as a nurse. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  James Jackson Gordy (1863 - 1948)
  Mary Ida Nicholson Gordy (1871 - 1951)
 
 Spouse:
  James Earl Carter (1894 - 1953)
 
 Children:
  James Earl Carter (1924 - ____)*
  Gloria Carter Spann (1926 - 1990)*
  Ruth Carter Stapleton (1929 - 1983)*
  William Alton Carter (1937 - 1988)*
 
 Siblings:
  Susie Estelle Gordy French (1891 - 1972)*
  Annie Lee Gordy Webb (1893 - 1918)*
  Bessie Lillian Gordy Carter (1898 - 1983)
  Walter Lem Gordy (1900 - 1965)*
  James Jackson Gordy (1903 - 1970)*
  Tom Watson Gordy (1906 - 1975)*
  Mary Elizabeth Gordy Braunstein (1909 - 1983)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Lebanon Cemetery
Plains
Sumter County
Georgia, USA
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 01, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 2476
Bessie Lillian Miss Lillian <i>Gordy</i> Carter
Added by: Kees Vandenberg
 
Bessie Lillian Miss Lillian <i>Gordy</i> Carter
Added by: Kees Vandenberg
 
Bessie Lillian Miss Lillian <i>Gordy</i> Carter
Added by: Joe Walker
 
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Thank you for your dedication to nursing and for your contributions to the Peace Corps. May you rest in peace.
- William Bjornstad
 Added: Jul. 19, 2014
Rest in peace.
- Michael
 Added: Apr. 10, 2014

- Geni Gitane
 Added: Mar. 7, 2014
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