GASTONIA - Rebecca Josie Blankenship "Becky" Carter, 84, of Covenant Village, died Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, at her residence, surrounded by family.
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She was born in Charlotte on March 17, 1928, the oldest of three children of the late Albert Stowe and Mildred Hodges Blankenship.
Mrs. Carter graduated from Central High School in Charlotte and earned a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Her first job after college was as the editor of a small weekly newspaper in Fontana Village.
She came home during the holidays of 1950 and attended a Spinsters Dance, where she met J. Bynum Carter. They were married on June 1, 1951. After that, she called Gastonia home ever since and was very active in church, civic and philanthropic life.
She was reluctant to admit that she was "saved by garbage," but she became deeply involved in the city and county management of trash, litter and beautification when she served as a founder and the first chairwoman of the Gastonia Clean City Committee, the predecessor organization to Keep Gastonia Beautiful. After serving 10 years, she became the executive director and trustee of the Community Foundation of Gaston County, a then-fledgling organization seeking to provide charitable dollars for county needs.
She was one of the organizers of the Gastonia unit of Habitat for Humanity, a former trustee of Gaston College, an original trustee of Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden when it opened in 1999, and former director of A.B. Carter Inc. A longtime member of First Presbyterian Church in Gastonia, she was an elder and former chairwoman of the Building and Grounds Committee. She was also a member of the Rotary Club of Gastonia.
She has won awards from Keep North Carolina Beautiful, Keep America Beautiful and Operation Beautiful. Additionally, she received the Community Service Award from the Junior Woman's Club, Merit Award and Paul Harris Fellow from Rotary, Woman of the Year from Civitan, Allen Sims Award from the Community Foundation, Grace Award from Belmont Abbey College, the Look-Up Gaston Appreciation Award, and shared the Bud Schiele Award with her husband immediately following his death in March of 2012.
In addition to her parents, Mrs. Carter was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 61 years, James Bynum Carter, and a daughter, Sally.
Survivors of Mrs. Carter include her daughter and son-in-law, May and Carroll Barger, and their children, who Mrs. Carter described as "two incredibly charming, beautiful, and brilliant grandchildren," Josie and Ben, all of Gastonia; a brother and sister-in-law, A.S. "Buck" and Betty Blankenship Jr. of Charlotte; a sister and brother-in-law, Carol B. and Don Gardner of Winston-Salem; and a sister-in-law, Tula Carter Robbins of Raleigh.
The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday at Mclean Funeral Directors of Gastonia. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at First Presbyterian Church with Dr. John L. Frye Jr. and Pastor John H. Stanley officiating. Private entombment will be held for the family at Forest Lawn West Mausoleum in Charlotte.
Becky will never completely die because her life was like the roots of a tree that go miles and miles into the soil, and then miles around the trunk, and they come up in the crepe myrtle trees that beautify this community, in the vast number of people and organizations helped by the Community Foundation and every spring when the flowers bloom not just in her garden, but at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. Reminders of her greet us everyday and make our life more beautiful.
Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 1621 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia, NC, 28054; Habitat for Humanity, 1840 E. Franklin Blvd. Gastonia, NC 28054; the
, 3800 Shamrock Drive, Charlotte, NC 28215; or Keep Gastonia Beautiful, 150 S. York St., Gastonia, NC 28052.
Condolence messages may be viewed and sent online at www.mcleanfuneral.com.
McLean Funeral Directors of Gastonia 1-800-217-9901 is serving the family of Mrs. Carter.
McLean Funeral Directors
700 South New Hope Road
Gastonia, NC 28054
Published in Gaston Gazette from Jan. 28 to Jan. 29, 2013