The Spirited Matriarch from Plains

Lillian Carter: 1898-1983

To her son, who grew up to be President, she bequeathed a toothy grin, piercing blue eyes and, as she put it, a "feeling for the underdog." To the rest of the nation, Lillian Carter—"Miss Lillian," as she was universally known—passed on a refreshing dose of down-home sass and straightforward irreverence. "There was really nothing outstanding about Jimmy as a boy," she once said of her successful firstborn, contending that Daughter Gloria, two years younger, was actually the smartest of her brood. And in 1976 she admonished her candidate-son Jimmy...

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