Ella Louise Carter Webb, a natural beauty known all her life as Louise, was born at home November 2, 1918 on the family farm in Sheridan, Michigan. Her beloved parents were Fred D. Carter from Cambridgeshire, England and Lottie May Edwards Carter from Bowling Green, Ohio. Louise was the youngest and last survivor of the 10 Carter children, 9 of whom lived into their nineties. She graduated from Stanford (Michigan) High School in 1936, completed training as a dental hygienist at the University of Michigan in 1938, and nearly 40 years later earned a bachelors degree in health education from Michigan State University. Louise married Richard Winfield Ryan in 1941 in Ann Arbor, Michigan and soon after, Richard enlisted in the Army. She lived with Richard's parents in New Orleans during the 1940s, returning to Michigan after the war. Louise and Richard had three children, Karen Louise Ryan Rice (David) of San Jose, California, Ruth Ellen Ryan (Ted Graham) of New Orleans, Louisiana, and Gregory Carter Ryan (Cindy) of St. John, Michigan. She worked as a dental hygienist for Dr. Harold Wirth in New Orleans, as a clinical instructor in dental hygiene at the University of Michigan, and at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan. Her second marriage was to Bert Webb, and they retired to Miami and Cocoa Beach, Florida. Louise was an expert seamstress, a good bridge player, money manager and genealogist, and a world traveler. She was an avid reader and active member of the American Association of University Women and the League of Women Voters. After listening carefully to the presidential debates, she mailed in her absentee ballot for Barack Obama in 2012. At the time of her death on July 26, 2013, she had been living for 9 years in her bayou-side condo in New Orleans where she is well remembered at the shops, athletic club and restaurants she frequented. Thanks to her own savings and advance planning, the expert care of mainstay caregiver Hope Valladares, the faithful assistance of Eileen Hotard and the late addition of Serenity Hospice services, Louise was able to die peacefully at her own home in her own bed at the age of 94.
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Published in TheAdvocate.com from July 27 to July 29, 2013