Anna Dean Carter is a gracious southern lady and a powerhouse of energy, efficiency, and determination.
Her fingerprints can be found on just about every civic and social organization in town, lending truth to the adage, “if you want a job done, give it to a busy person”.
A Macon County Native, and one of six children, Anna Dean King grew up in the Galen community where she attended the Galen School. In 1954, she was the first in her family to graduate high school.
“I had dreamed about being a teacher, but I didn't have any way to go to college. Then after I met Billy my plans changed anyway,” she smiled.
Anna Dean King married her high school sweetheart Billy Carter. They raised two sons and a daughter and the proud mother and grandmother describes family as her number one joy.
“It was never ‘if' but ‘when' you go to college.”
Skipper lives in Johnson City and works for Air Jet Dynamics; Rusty lives in Murfreesboro, where he is an independent insurance adjuster; and Debra lives in Hendersonville and has taught at Macon County High School for 28 years. The grandchildren are busy with school and making their grandmother proud too.
Today, Anna Dean Carter serves on the board of the Macon County Education Foundation but she has always been a zealous advocate of education.
“When the kids were growing up I always talked to them about going to college. It was never ‘if' but ‘when' you go to college,” the determined mom explained.
“My husband used to tell me maybe I shouldn't talk to them that way about college because we didn't know how we'd be able to send them; but I told him not to worry about that,” Anna Dean recalled.
A year apart in age, the Carter children all landed in college at the same time.
Supporting three college students took more than a little creative planning and a good bit of hard work for the whole family, but the proud mom reports she is pleased with the results.
“I'm really proud of my children.”
“They'd all come home from Tech every weekend. I'd make a week's worth of sausage and biscuits and brownies for them to take back to school to save spending on food.”
“I'm really proud of my children. They all have at least a bachelor's degree, and some more,” the happy mother of three added with a big smile.
Billy Carter was an independent insurance agent and Anna Dean worked for the Farmer's Coop for years; but in keeping with the spirit of volunteerism so prevalent in Macon County, the busy parents were also actively involved in school and community events.
“Billy volunteered with the band boosters, football, and basketball; whatever they needed, he was there to help,” Anna Dean explained.
“He was right there to support me when I ran for County Commissioner.”
“He used to say, ‘We'll have more time when the kids are out of school,' but he was right there to support me when I ran for County Commissioner in 1990,” she added.
The family lost Billy Carter in 1999 and Anna Dean says not a day goes by that she doesn't miss the help and support her husband provided when she talked things over with him.
In addition to being a County Commissioner and on the Macon County Education Foundation board, Anna Dean Carter serves on the boards of Macon Helps, the Senior Center, the MCHS Alumni Association, and the Macon County Sports Hall of Fame.
She also serves on the Fair Board and the 911 Board, the Health Council, the newly formed Arts Council, the Historical Society, and the Three Star Planning Committee.
The busy lady was also named to “Who's Who in American Women” in 1995; and she thinks she may have even omitted a title or two from her long list of accountabilities.
But don't think for a minute Anna Dean might be about ‘all work and no play'-not as long as she reigns as the Queen of the Lafayette “Cherry Delights” chapter of the Red Hat Society!
Before heading off to tackle her agenda for the day, the busy lady can be found several days a week ‘holding court' at Hardee's, where just about everybody who comes in recognizes her and passes a friendly exchange of greetings.
“I just like to stay busy,” the dedicated community leader declared, but Anna Dean's definition of ‘busy' might be just a bit intimidating for some of us.
Over the years, writers of fiction have woven word tapestries that colorfully showcase the special brand of strength and spirit unique to southern women; but here in Macon County we don't need fictional characters. We have Anna Dean Carter.