The Photo Request has been fulfilled.

 Bessie Lillian “Miss Lillian” <I>Gordy</I> Carter

Bessie Lillian “Miss Lillian” Gordy Carter

Richland, Stewart County, Georgia, USA
Death 30 Oct 1983 (aged 85)
Americus, Sumter County, Georgia, USA
Burial Plains, Sumter County, Georgia, USA
Memorial ID 2476 · View Source
Suggest Edits

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 Members





How famous was Bessie Lillian “Miss Lillian” Gordy Carter?

Current rating:

109 votes

to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2476
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Bessie Lillian “Miss Lillian” Gordy Carter (15 Aug 1898–30 Oct 1983), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2476, citing Lebanon Cemetery, Plains, Sumter County, Georgia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .