Ruth Carter Stapleton

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Ruth Carter Stapleton
Born Ruth Carter
(1929-08-07)August 7, 1929
Plains, Georgia
Died September 26, 1983(1983-09-26) (aged 54)
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Cause of death Pancreatic cancer
Resting place Lafayette Memorial Park
Alma mater Georgia State College for Women
Known for Evangelist
Religion Southern Baptist/charismatic
Spouse(s) Robert Stapleton (1948 - 1983; her death)
Children Gloria Lynn
Sydney Scott
Patricia Gordy
Robert Michael
Parent(s) James Earl Carter, Sr.
Lillian Gordy Carter
Relatives Jimmy Carter
Gloria Carter Spann
Billy Carter

Ruth Carter Stapleton (August 7, 1929 – September 26, 1983) was a sister of Jimmy Carter and was known in her own right as a Christian evangelist. She died of pancreatic cancer in 1983.

Early life and family[edit]

Ruth Carter was born August 7, 1929, in Plains, Georgia, the third of the four children in the family of James Earl Carter, Sr. and Lillian Gordy Carter.

Besides the former president, Stapleton had an older sister, Gloria (1926-1990), and a younger brother, Billy (1937-1988). All three of them died of pancreatic cancer, along with their parents.

Education, career, and family[edit]

Stapleton earned her bachelor's degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She later earned a theological degree.

Stapleton married Robert Thome Stapleton (1925-2014),[1] a veterinarian, in 1948 and had four children: Gloria Lynn (born May 31, 1950), Sydney Scott (born December 23, 1951), Patricia Gordy (born May 29, 1954) and Robert Michael (born November 5, 1958). Stapleton suffered from chronic depression,[2] and was involved in a car wreck which nearly cost her her life during the time immediately following the birth of her children.

In 1977, she became friends with pornographer Larry Flynt and managed to briefly convert him to Christianity. She was portrayed during this portion of Flynt's life by Donna Hanover in the film The People vs. Larry Flynt.

Stapleton was also known for her involvement in the healing ministry, especially in healing of memories. Her books The Gift of Inner Healing, The Experience of Inner Healing, and In His Footsteps: The Healing Ministry of Jesus, Then and Now, illustrate her beliefs on inner healing, which involved healing of memories in which a person would go over their memories and bring Jesus into the memory to help them forgive or be comforted as required by Jesus.

In his book on alleged White House scandals, Ronald Kessler claims that an unnamed member of the Carter staff told him that Stapleton "at one point was deeply involved with [West German chancellor] Willy Brandt" during her brother's administration, but that "[n]obody ever found out about it". Kessler goes on to write that Robert T. Stapleton (Ruth's husband) "said that he had no knowledge of such an affair".[3] (Publishers Weekly reviews Kessler's book as follows: "In this tabloid-sounding account, Kessler (The FBI) has aimed very low, armed with 'inside information' provided by presidential aides, servants, staff members and Secret Service agents that has the ring of backstairs gossip." (In addition, Brandt would have been in his late 60s at the time. [b. December 18, 1913.])[4]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Dreifus, Claudia (February 11, 1979). "Ruth Carter Stapleton: 'I Didn't Want to Be Just a Socialite Anymore'". LI. p. 14. 
  3. ^ Kessler, Ronald (1996). Inside the White House. Simon and Schuster. p. 92. ISBN 0671879197.
  4. ^



  • Stapleton, Ruth Carter (1968). Power Through Release. Macalester Park Pub. Co. 
  • Stapleton, Ruth Carter (1973). In His Footsteps. Harper & Row. ISBN 0-06-067516-0. 
  • Stapleton, Ruth Carter (1976). The Gift of Inner Healing. Word Books. ISBN 0-8499-0082-4. 
  • Stapleton, Ruth Carter (1978). Brother Billy. Harper & Row. ISBN 0-06-014063-1. 
  • Stapleton, Ruth Carter (1979). The Experience of Inner Healing. Bantam Books. ISBN 978-0-553-12047-9. 
  • Stapleton, Ruth Carter (1979). In His Footsteps : The Healing Ministry of Jesus, Then and Now. Harper and Row. ISBN 978-0-06-067516-5.