Cover photo for Harriet Carter's Obituary
Harriet Carter Profile Photo

Harriet Carter

d. March 26, 2023


Harriet Elaine Carter, age 78 of Petersburg, passed away on March 26, 2023.

She was born January 14, 1945 in Springfield, Illinois, the daughter of Hardy, Jr. and Zelma Hughes Vandagrift.

Harriet married William Carter on August 7, 1982 at Central Presbyterian Church in Petersburg, Illinois.

Mourning her passing are her husband, William; children, Robert Mason (wife April Brewer) Coomer and Carolyn (husband Jason) Gerwen; step-children, Chris (wife Tracy) Carter, Becky (husband Matt) Duncheon, and Jen Hollis; grandchildren, Seth Carter, Hillary Nelson, Holly Fitzgerald, Maggie Carter, Melanie Duncheon, Kristin Reid, Zelma Coomer, Jake Hardy Gerwen, and Piper Jo Gerwen; four great-grandchildren, Jaxon Nelson, Mason Fitzgerald, Logan Fitzgerald, Madelyn Moore; sister, Doris Melvin; two nieces, Julie and Pamela; and many cousins.

She is preceded in death by her parents; and brother-in-law, John Melvin.

Harriet graduated from Athens Community High School.  She then graduated from Western Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics.  Harriet was a member of the Delta Zeta Sorority.

After a brief teaching career, where she taught in South Carolina and Peterburg, Harriet worked as a University of Illinois Home Extension Advisor.  She then worked with her dad at Hughes Insurance Agency in Athens and later moved the business to Petersburg.  After her father’s retirement, she became sole owner of the Agency.  She sold her insurance business to take care of her parents.

Harriet was a board member of the Joel Hall Cemetery after taking her father’s position on the board.  She also volunteered for many years on the Sunny Acres Advisory Board.

Harriet was a member of Central Presbyterian Church, where she served as a youth group leader, treasure of the Memorial committee and an Elder.

Harriet was also a founding member of the Menard County University Women, and a founding member of the “Birthday Group” at the church.

Harriet loved decorating her home, especially for Christmas. She was a true believer who loved playing Christmas music year-round.  Harriet loved reading and sewing. She was famous for sharing her desserts, especially her angel food cake. Harriet loved travelling the country. Gammy was a hard worker with an incredibly positive spirit. She will be missed dearly by all who knew her.

Visitation for Harriet will be held Thursday, March 30th, 9:30 until 11:00 am. A Celebration of Life Service to follow at 11:00 am at the Central Presbyterian Church in Petersburg.  The burial will be held at Rosehill Cemetery in Petersburg.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Heifer International, or the Athens Municipal Library.

Mott & Henning Funeral Home is assisting the family. On-line condolences can be shared at


  1. I’m so sorry for your loss. I always enjoyed her laughter and smile when she would come to the vet clinic with her little critters. My prayers are for your family

  2. Dear Harriet, although I did not know you personally I can truly say you must have been a wonderful mother. Your daughter Carolyn is evidence of that. She is a wonderful person who always considers the needs of others and is helpful beyond measure. She is also a fierce advocate for her children and the glue in many circles holding many things together
    – I’m guessing she learned that from you.
    Carolyn- I am so sorry for your loss. I’m sure you will carry the best parts with you forever!

  3. Dearest Harriet, what a light you are what an incredible life you lead. Thankful to have met you and your amazing daughter. She is definitely your little mini. You did a stellar job at raising her and we are blessed to call her friend.

  4. We are so sorry for your loss. We are blessed that we had the chance to meet Harriet a few times. She exuded such joy, love and sincerity. Which has been passed on to her daughter Carolyn and encompassed her whole family. Harriet’s smile was infectious even across the country and so beautiful. Our thoughts and prayers are with the whole family during this difficult time.

  5. Our hearts are broken at Harriet’s passing. She was such a sweet happy person and made our travels together so much better. We are so glad we got to meet you two and see Canada and Alaska together. Our Alaska reunions were so fun and she will be miss by so many. We love you Will, Kenny and Candy

  6. Dear Will, I was so saddened to hear of Harriet’s passing, Keith and I had the best time RVing with you both, she was ALWAYS so happy and helpful! She will be missed ! Big hugs to you and my prayers are with you and your family, Kathy

  7. Will,
    Please accept our sincere condolences on Harriet’s passing. We always enjoyed being with you both at common get togethers.
    May she rest in peace with her parents.
    God bless you all.
    Don and Sharon

  8. My thoughts and prayers with Harriet’s family. She was such a joy to chat with when I delivered the mail. So fun and always cheerful!

    Karen Pope
    Mail carrier, Petersburg

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