Lillie Belle CarterActive in churchLillie Belle Carter,...

Lillie Belle Carter

Active in church


Lillie Belle Carter, mother to two leaders of Baltimore's religious and academic communities, died Nov. 15 after a brief illness at her home in Selma, Ala. She was 89. Services for Mrs. Carter are scheduled to take place at 2 p.m. today at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Selma.

Mrs. Carter was the mother of Nathan M. Carter Jr., director of fine arts at Morgan State University, and the Rev. Harold A. Carter, pastor of the New Shiloh Baptist Church.


Mrs. Carter, born in Jemison, Ala., was an active member of Tabernacle Baptist Church for about 50 years and was president of its Missionary Society. She also sang in churches across the nation.

Her husband of 54 years, Nathan M. Carter Sr., was both pastor and professor at Selma University in Alabama. He died in 1987.

In addition to her two sons, Mrs. Carter is survived by three daughters, Dorothy Jackson of Marion, Ala., Marion Carter McKinnie of Indianapolis, and Blanche Carter Thrash of Atlanta; two brothers, Joe Hicks and Daniel Hicks, both of Jemison, Ala.; eight grandchildren and one great-grandson.

The family suggested memorial donations to the New Shiloh Family Life Center, 2100 N. Monroe St., Baltimore 21217.

John L. Paul Sr., who ran away to sea as a teen-ager and spent the rest of his working life sailing around the world, died Friday of prostate cancer at his apartment on Eutaw Place in Baltimore.

Services for 65-year-old Mr. Paul, a chief cook known to shipmates and family for his skill in baking bread, will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at the March Funeral Home, 4300 Wabash Ave.

"He took odd jobs on banana boats in port and when he got his seaman's papers he started out washing pots and pans in the galley," said Gwendolyn Vanwright, one of Mr. Paul's six children. "He moved right on up to salad maker, baker, and then chief cook. My father sailed for 45 years."

A member of the National Maritime Union, Mr. Paul served on his last ship in 1989 before illness forced him to retire.


Born in Baltimore, he dropped out of Carver High School in the 11th grade but opened himself to a wide world of knowledge at sea that was impossible to get in a classroom.

Like many sailors, he found companionship in books and brought newspapers home from distant lands.

"He loved Africa, to go down around the horn and up to Madagascar, and he'd always bring back treasures, that's what we called them: shields and spears and drums made by natives," Mrs. Vanwright said. "We were poor growing up, but he would take our raggedy clothes and give them away to little kids over there because they were worse off than we were."

Mr. Paul was also exposed to trends in music and fashion that had yet to reach the United States.

"In 1963 he came home and told us about a group called the Beatles that were making kids go wild in England, and we laughed at a group named after bugs," Mrs. Vanwright said. "And then a year later, guess what?"

Also in the 1960s, while working for the Moore-McCormick shipping lines, Mr. Paul and his crew mates shared space on deck with exotic animals -- lions, zebras and tigers --being brought back to zoos in the States.


John Paul would spend six months at sea -- often taking a heavy punching bag with him to work out -- and come home for three months before shipping out again. Mrs. Vanwright said her friends always knew when her father was home because the whole family would put on weight when he commandeered the kitchen.

"He introduced us to eggplant and fried squid," she said. "And he liked to cook a lot of bacon."

He also enjoyed raising tropical fish in 55-gallon tanks and often told his children they could learn more by staring at an aquarium than watching television.

Mr. Paul is survived by his wife, the former Vivian Kerr; three sons, Michael Paul, John Paul Jr. and Brett Paul; two daughters in addition to Mrs. Vanwright, Carleen Paul and Christine Jefferson; a brother, James Edward Paul; three sisters, Mattie Barksdale, Ethel Mae Brown and Mabel Dorsey; and five grandchildren. All are of Baltimore.