Lillian Carter

Lillian Evelyn Carter (Christensen)

Friday, December 11th, 1931 - Tuesday, December 17th, 2019
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Lillian Evelyn Carter, age 88, passed away December 17, 2019 in Kalamazoo, MI. Lillian was a life-long resident of Constantine, MI, spending nearly 60 years on her farm on Blue School Road. She was first and foremost a mom and grandmother, but also a business owner, bookkeeper, community servant, and elected official. She was active in parent organizations when her children attended Constantine Schools and she was a member of Messiah Lutheran Church for over 70 years. Lillian was one of the first students at Glen Oaks Community College.
Lillian was born in Chicago, IL to Thorvald and Hilda Christensen, the middle daughter of three sisters. She lived with her family in Chicago, attending Taft High School, until they purchased a motor court and moved to Mottville, MI at age 15. She graduated from Constantine High School in 1949 and married Lloyd Carter in 1950; they divorced in 1983. She had 4 children and is survived by three of them: Lorrie (Carter) Witt of Three Rivers, MI, Susan Carter (Jim Rojeski) of Kalamazoo, MI, Ned Carter (d1979), and Alan Carter (Lori) of Sturgis, MI; three grandchildren: Robert Joseph Manning (Sara) of Denver, CO, Adam Carter of Constantine, MI, and Alex Carter (Aly) of Sturgis, MI; and one great grandson Samuel Hunter Manning of Denver, CO. Lillian is also survived by her nieces, Stephanie Smagala of Oregon, Karen Smagala of Sydney, AU, Jennifer Smagala Luciano (Rich, Abby, and Ian), Sharon Smagala (Bill) Fuller of Sacramento, CA; and Susan (Schenk) (Danny and family) Granzotto of Elkhart, IN.
Lillian began her career in business at Carter’s Berry Farm in 1961 and continued with the fruit farm until 1970. She had various jobs until 1979 when she became the owner of Carter’s Corner Store in Moorepark, MI. Many neighbors remember Lillian’s enthusiasm for building community through her store in this rural area. In 1980 Lillian was elected and began her tenure on the Constantine Township Library Board that continued through 2013. In 1996 she was elected to the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners and served the county until 2002. She was active in supporting the roads systems, the county parks and recreation, mental health, and area council on aging. After 2002, she continued to serve as an appointed member of the Commission on Aging board until 2007.
Our mom and nan was a formidable force to the very end. She loved family, friends, community, and was always the last to leave a good party. A total card shark, she rarely ever lost, really! She modeled leadership, stewardship, and gave endlessly of herself in service to others. Did we mention she loved Denmark and was more Danish than the queen? We miss her already.
We will honor her memory at a memorial service on January 11, 2020 at the Messiah Lutheran Church in Constantine, with family visitation at 10am and the celebration of life at 11am. Please make donations in lieu of flowers to the Constantine Township Library.
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Richard Batten and son Rich

Posted at 04:53pm
Richard & son Rich Batten are sending the flowers with a heavy heart, for your Mother was there for me when I was going through my divorce,
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Richard Batten and son Rich purchased the Peaceful White Lilies Basket and planted a memorial tree for the family of Lillian Carter.


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