Article-J-PHOTO1--Mrs. Zerita Joy Carter Fotor

Zerita ‘Joy’ Richardson Carter (Courtesy photo)

(Updated 5/21/2016) Mrs. Zerita Joy Richardson Carter, affectionately known as ‘Joy’ by family and friends, died on June 14 at 10:10 am, at Sinai Hospital. Joy was born in Baltimore, Md, on October 1, 1931. She was 84 and died from complications of lung disease.

Born to Wilbert and Ernestine Richardson, Joy survived her parents and three brothers: Wilbert (eldest), and twins, Lloyd Charles and Lewis Paul Richardson. She graduated from Frederick Douglass High School, class of 1951, and later received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Morgan State University in 1955.

As a teenager, growing up in segregated Maryland, Joy worked summers as a dishwasher in Ocean City. She also worked throughout high school at Hendin’s Hollywood Fashions on Pennsylvania Avenue, and played tennis daily in Druid Hill Park. After graduating from Morgan, Joy worked as a recreation leader for McCulloh Homes, Gilmor Homes, and Poe Homes. She was known for going the extra mile to stimulate children’s interest and creativity in arts and crafts and other activities.

Walter P. Carter, Zerita ‘Joy’ Carter, Jill P. Carter (AFRO file photo-circa 1969)

In 1954, Joy married civil rights leader, Walter P. Carter, known primarily for activism and organizing efforts to desegregate public accommodations throughout Maryland and to end housing discrimination in Baltimore City. Together, they had two daughters, Judith Linn and Jill Priscilla.

Following Walter’s death in 1971, Joy became a certified teacher and worked at Samuel Coleridge Taylor Elementary School #122, as an early childhood educator, until her retirement in the year 2000.  She was honored as Teacher of the Year in 1993.

Joy was a lifelong, active member of Saint James’ Episcopal Church, where she worked with the food pantry, served as a member of the Rector’s Guild, and worked faithfully as a member of the group lovingly referred to as the “Call Girls” because they put together the weekly church bulletin, The Call. An avid collector of Black dolls, Joy was a member of the Charm City Dolling Club. Over the years, she amassed an extensive doll collection. She enjoyed socializing with friends at monthly lunch and pinochle club meetings, and was a long-time member of The Spockettes.

“Mom believed decency was among the most important of human traits and prided herself on living a life of supreme decency”, according to her daughter Jill. “She instilled that in us. She was fiercely loyal and devoted to her family and friends, an unassuming woman with tremendous wisdom. She was selfless in giving of herself to others and asking nothing in return.”

“She taught us that we are not meant to take more than we receive, and without true love, we just exist.  She was a wonderfully down- to-earth woman”, said her son-in-law, Judge Sylvester B. Cox, Jr., Circuit Court for Baltimore City.

Joy refrained from being personally active in politics, but she was politically astute and active in the 5 and 5 Democratic Club in the 1970s and ’80s, and also served as a member of the Community Health Council of Maryland. Joy was a consistent and enthusiastic supporter of numerous political campaigns, including those of her closest friends, former City Council women, Iris Reeves and Vera P. Hall; and her daughter’s, Jill’s, campaign for the Maryland House of Delegates.

Joy enjoyed reading the newspaper every day and listening to talk radio. She made bargain shopping an art, and could be found many days toiling about local thrift shops and discount stores. She referred to herself as a “collector”, and could never be found without a well-stocked collection of gifts in her home to present for every occasion.

A long-time resident of the Ashburton neighborhood, Mrs. Carter was active in the neighborhood association, and enjoyed an eventful life with many friends. Among them: her life-long friend, Mrs. Phyllis Savage of Washington, D.C.; Mrs. Cardrienne Griffin of Baltimore; Mrs. Mary Paige of Pittsburg; and a host of others.

Her daughters and granddaughters were the loves of her life.

Joy Carter is survived by: her two daughters, Judith Linn (Carter) Cox, and the Honorable Jill P. Carter, son-in-law, the Honorable Sylvester B. Cox, Jr.; two granddaughters, Lindsey Carter Cox and Erin Taylor Cox; a nephew, Gregg Richardson; a cousin, Mrs. Shirley Reed; goddaughter Jewel Griffin Lindzey; and a host of family and friends.

  • Friends may view her body at the March Funeral Home, 4300 Wabash Ave, on June 23 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Funeral services will he held on June 24 at Saint James’ Episcopal Church, 1020 W. Lafayette Ave, Baltimore at 11 a.m., preceded by Family Hour at 10 a.m.
  • Mrs. Carter will be laid to rest at The King Memorial Park in Randallstown, MD. Repast to follow.