Here’s what happened.
One of the simplest ways to compose a Today in History story is to select a date on the calendar and find someone notable whose birth or death occurred on it. The strategy is so easy that it has never been used to generate articles for this series.
However, the facts reveal that the person examined in this article did indeed suffer a notable death. Nonetheless, it is this person’s life that is the more notable story. That story can be a tremendous source of inspiration. Her name was Ruth C. Stapleton. On September 26, 1983, she succumbed to the same disease that had claimed her parents and three of her siblings: pancreatic cancer.
Here’s why it mattered then.
Ruth Stapleton’s maiden name explains her strong historic connection to Atlanta and Georgia. Her eldest and only surviving sibling is James Earl “Jimmy” Carter. After serving as governor, Carter would go on to become the USA’s 39th president.
Their mother, Bessie Lillian Carter, was legendary in their native town of Plains, Georgia as a nurse and humanitarian. She was also an important link in an impressive genealogy involving public service. Through “Miss Lillian,” the Carters are related to former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, who himself is the grandnephew of the legendary Congressional Representative from Georgia, Carl Vinson. Nunn’s daughter Michelle has been a driving force in national community service, including Hands On Network and the Points of Light Institute.
Here’s why it matters now.
Ruth Carter Stapleton led an inspiring life and career as an international evangelist. She wrote several books about the power of faith as a personal and community healing force. She accomplished all this while raising four children and waging a lifelong struggle against depression.
One of Stapleton’s most famous converts was Larry Flint. In the movie about his career as a pornography mogul, the actress and journalist Donna Hanover played the role of Stapleton. Hanover was married for 18 years to former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
Here’s the latest update . . .
The pancreas plays a vital function in human digestion and blood sugar management. Cancer of this organ ranks fourth among the most lethal. More information is available online via websites such as this one for the American Cancer Society.
On October 1, 2011, Jimmy Carter will observe his 87th birthday anniversary. Here’s wishing to him that he will surpass by many years the records of longevity established by former presidents Gerald Ford (1913-2006) and Ronald Reagan (1911-2004). Carter’s opponents in his presidential campaigns were Ford (1976) and Reagan (1980).
. . . And here’s an interesting fact!
Lillian Carter’s maiden name was Gordy. Numerous genealogy sources, including this one, suggest that she was obliquely related to a sharecropper from Milledgeville, Georgia who migrated to Detroit, Michigan. His son, Berry Gordy, Jr., would go on to build the Motown music empire. This is another example of the often uncomfortable but always inspiring stories that are part of the American experience.