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OBITUARY: Donna Lynn Carter

Date: The End of an Era

Byline: Keith Bergman

It is my exasperated duty to report that, on Tuesday, September 20, 2022, just before lunch (before lunch, Donna?!), with her typical audacity, Donna Lynn Carter (nee Strickland) has up and left us. (The nerve, right?) After a long life filled with laughter, generosity, and adventure, she fought COPD to a draw and, like any great entertainer, made her exit and left us wanting more.

She was born Sept 12, 1957, in Atlanta, GA and moved to Charlotte, NC at the age of five (I’m assuming with some help, but she’s always been real strong-willed). After graduating from Garinger High School in 1975, she later married her first husband – but hey, we all make mistakes (she married another one later – sometimes you just don’t get the message the first time). She did get her son, Jason Lee Mangrum, born 1981, out of the deal, learning a valuable lesson in finding the silver lining in everything. This would later serve her well as a comedian on the road.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Betty H. Strickland (who hated that Donna was a comedian, although hopefully they can hash that all out now) and Jerry L.R. Strickland, as well as her sister, Judy R. Strickland. She is survived by her son, Jason Mangrum and his wife MJ, of Murfreesboro, TN, her sister, Lisa S. Underwood and her husband Blair, of Locust, NC, and her beloved Aunt Foda (that’s pronounced “Fodie”, y’all) of Waycross, GA. There’s a bunch more cousins and such but we might have to pay for this by the word.

Donna was active in Wedgewood Baptist Church, Charlotte, NC, serving as usher, deacon, and in other roles throughout her life. Her church family supported her back, going so far as to once hold Wednesday night services at a comedy club to attend her comedy class graduation (think about how many times some of them had heard those jokes already. That’s love, people).

After taking the plunge into standup comedy at age 40, Donna performed all over the country, did gigs for Carnival Cruise Lines, and worked everywhere from A-list comedy clubs to chicken-wire honky-tonks. She had found her calling and she loved every minute of the journey, even the driving-all-day and the living-off-Waffle-House parts of it, bringing laughter to thousands (and, let’s be honest, sometimes ten or twelve).

Donna was a member of the Beta Sigma Phi sorority, a bookkeeper who trained herself to use the adding machine by adding up numbers in the phone book, and she once met Sir Sean Connery, although if any salacious details exist of their encounter, they are now lost to time and propriety.

One of her colleagues, the one writing this obituary for her, can attest for the record that she took her role as class clown and ran to the moon and back with it. She mighta walked into a room looking and sounding like the sweetest Southern church lady, but she left the place a shambles of laughter and joy. If you knew her, you know. If you missed out, the ticket window’s closed, buddy.

Donna added this bit herself (cain’t never let nobody else have the stage by theirself!) – Robert Clark put his life on hold, moved halfway across Tennessee, and cared for me the final months of my life. With his generous, patient care, I spent my final days in the peace and comfort of my own home. My transition was most definitely made easier by the kindnesses of my neighbors and friends and the love and support from the Hospice nurses and staff. Thank you all. Of all the medical folks who helped me along the way, none were more important than Stephen Tai and Mark Peacock and their staffs. Truth is, Dr. Tai kept me alive a lot longer than I expected and probably deserved (and he is cute as pie and I love him). And to my BFF, Jackie Batten Utley . . . . you were the wind beneath my wings. You all know I love you.

Donna’s remains will be cremated and, following services in both Murfreesboro and Charlotte (double booked even for her funeral? Now she’s just showing off), her ashes will be interred at a later date. In lieu of flowers Donna has requested that you please make donations to either (or heck, why not both?): Alive Hospice, 1718 Patterson St., Nashville, TN 37203, or Wedgewood Community Church, PO Box 18912, Charlotte, NC 28218.



For more obituaries visit https://rutherfordsource.com/obituaries/

Jennifer Haley
Jennifer Haley
Growing up in rural Upstate New York, Jennifer has always enjoyed the simple pleasures in life. She is an outspoken advocate for animal rights and has opened her home to many rescues over the years. In her spare time, she enjoys antiquing, hiking, and gardening.


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