Dr. Frances (Fran) Larraine Tunnell Carter, EdD, age 99, of Birmingham, AL went home to be with the Lord on May 31, 2021. Fran was born May 21, 1922 in Springville, MS to Mary Annie McCutcheon Tunnell and David (Bud) Atmund Tunnell. Fran taught elementary/early childhood education and home economics at Samford University for 27 years and was an editor for Woman's Missionary Union. During WW II, she worked as a "Rosie the Riveter," building B-29 airplanes in Birmingham. In 1998, she founded the American Rosie the Riveter Association, a national organization for Rosies, their descendants, and others interested in their legacy. She presented close to 400 programs dressed as Rosie the Riveter in 18 states, first with her husband, who was a paratrooper in WWII, and continuing after his death in 2014. She was a long-time member of Dawson Memorial Baptist Church, where she taught Conversational English (ESL) for many years. Wherever she lived, she usually taught Sunday School, starting at age 12 and continuing until age 90. She was Birmingham Woman of the Year and Volunteer of the Year, and in 2016 she received the Woman in American History Award from Daughters of the American Revolution. She authored numerous books and educational materials for children, as well as many articles in professional and denominational journals. She was a LtCol in Civil Air Patrol, a member of the Silver-Haired Legislature and Silver-Haired Congress, national Executive Director of Kappa Delta Epsilon education fraternity, and national President of the National League of American Pen Women. She and her husband led more than 15 short-term mission trips to China, Indonesia, Russia, Honduras, and Mexico, and taught a semester at both Anhui Normal University in Wuhu, China and Hong Kong Baptist University. Fran was preceded in death by her beloved husband of almost 68 years, Dr. John Thomas Carter. She is survived by her son, LtCol Wayne Carter, USMC, Ret (Regina), and daughter Nell Carter Branum (Jim), as well as 7 grandchildren-Jon Carter (Rachel), David Carter (Susana), Stephen Carter (Jen), Rebekah Carter Wilson (Ben), Tim Branum (Amanda), Daniel Branum (Stephanie), and Sarah Branum Law (Jordan)-and 16 great-grandchildren. A memorial Celebration Service will be held for family members, and will be available for online viewing at www.drfrancarter.com
, starting June 23. There will be no graveside service, as Fran requested that her body be given to the UAB School of Medicine. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the John and Fran Carter Endowed Scholarship for Teacher Education at Samford University (800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, AL 35209), American Rosie the Riveter Association (PO Box 241, Greens Farms, CT 06838), or the John T. Carter Agricultural College in Liberia, through Brewster Road Community Church in Birmingham (1661 Brewster Road, Birmingham, AL 35235).
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Published by The Birmingham News from Jun. 12 to Jun. 13, 2021.