Gloria Carter Spann was born in Plains, Georgia, on October 22, 1926. She was the sister of former President Jimmy Carter and a motorcyclist and activist. She was one of the first women inducted into Harley-100,000 Davidson’s Mile Club, was named Most Outstanding Female Motorcyclist in 1978, and was a motorcycle rights activist. Spann studied journalism briefly at Georgia Southwestern College. Her first marriage to an abusive war veteran named William Everett Hardy produced her only child, William Everett Hardy. She later married a farmer from Georgia named Walter Guy Spann, and the couple was married from 1950 until she died in 1990. Let’s celebrate her special day right here.
Gloria Carter Spann
October 22, 1926
March 5, 1990 (age 63)
Gloria Carter Spann was born on October 22, 1926, in Plains, Georgia. She was the second of four children born to James Earl Carter Sr. and Lillian Gordy Carter, and the first daughter. Spann was the smartest, most fascinating, most gorgeous, outgoing, and brilliant of her siblings, according to many people, including their mother. The connection between Spann and the future president was tense as youngsters who fought for their parental love, but the two became extraordinarily close in their later years.
In June 1944, Spann graduated from high school and enrolled at Georgia Southwestern College, where she began studying journalism. Her aspirations were thwarted when she married a military hero from Americus called William Everett Hardy. The Carters were against the marriage since the groom was a former pharmacy store clerk. At the time, this was not a job for well-to-do families. William Everett (Hardy) Spann was born in 1946 as a result of the marriage. Spann returned to Georgia from Texas in 1949, and her father, Earl Carter, was outraged by the terrible beatings she endured at the hands of her husband. With the help of her father, Spann had her marriage annulled in 1949. On December 15, 1950, Spann married Walter Guy Spann, a farmer from Webster County, Georgia, and he adopted the son of her first marriage.
Despite having some sort of celebrity before Jimmy Carter’s election, Spann was not dragged into the spotlight until her brother was elected president. During her brother’s presidency, she was most likely the sibling that avoided the spotlight the most. Before her brother’s election to the presidency in 1976, Spann worked on multiple campaigns for him. She made many phone calls and distributed several brochures in support of Carter’s governorship aspirations in Georgia. Spann kept a low profile when she and her husband, Walter, cycled across the country on their Harley-Davidson motorbikes. Span released a volume of letters written by her mother in 1977, documenting her mother’s challenges and successes while serving with the Peace Corps in India for two years. She and her spouse were both members of Union Life, a religious brotherhood. Spann was one of the first women accepted into Harley Davidson’s 100,000 Mile Club, and she was selected Most Outstanding Female Motorcyclist in 1978. She also worked as a biker rights activist. Spann was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the fall of 1989. The cancer was discovered in its late stages when palliative care was the only option. Spann had been a smoker but had quit in the years before her death. Like her two younger brothers who died of cancer in their 50s in the 1980s, Spann refused life-extending medication. She died of pancreatic cancer complications on March 5, 1990, at the age of 63.
Spann graduates from high school and attends Georgia Southwestern College, where she begins her studies in journalism.
Spann marries farmer Walter Guy Spann of Webster County, Georgia, and he adopts her first marriage's son.
Spann supports her brother Jimmy Carter's presidential campaign, making numerous phone calls and distributing numerous brochures in his support.
Spann is inducted into the Harley Davidson's 100,000 Mile Club, and she is named the year's ‘Most Outstanding Female Motorcyclist.’
Why We Love Gloria Carter Spann
She supported her brother
Spann was always there for her siblings, especially President Carter during his election campaigns. She supported him throughout his governorship campaigns in Georgia from 1971 to 1975, and she was a huge supporter of his presidential campaign in 1976.
She had a one-of-a-kind personality
Spann was known throughout her life as the fun-loving, motorcycle-riding younger sister of former President Carter. Moreover, although she was concerned about her loss of privacy once Carter started his presidential campaign in 1976, Spann surrendered and seemed to love showing off her farm, her husband, and her motorcycle jacket, which proclaimed "Bad News" on the back.
She was dedicated to motorcycling
Spann became committed to being a motorcyclist after discovering her passion for the lifestyle with the help of her second husband, Walter. She became a “den mother” to the younger riders, and each year she and her husband planted a large garden for the bikers and canned the vegetables to serve as unexpected guests. Their farmhouse was set up to accommodate multiple cots or sleeping bags. Spann’s husband also built a four-hole outhouse to accommodate bikers cruising through the South or heading to the Daytona 500.
5 Surprising Facts
Her brother nicknamed her
Spann was 24 months younger than her baby brother, Jimmy Carter, who pronounced her name as “Go Go,” giving her the famous nickname.
Her fights with Carter got heated sometimes
Spann's fights with her brother got intense at times — he once shot her with a B.B. gun after she threw a wrench at him when they were kids.
She had no children after remarrying
Spann and her second husband, Walter, had no children together and had a very happy, affectionate marriage that lasted nearly 40 years.
She was once detained
Spann was arrested for disorderly behavior in 1979 after refusing to quit playing the harmonica in a McWaffle restaurant in Americus, Georgia.
She became a “den mother” for motorcyclists
Spann and her husband Walter became “den mother and father” to the younger riders during their years as motorcycle riders.
Gloria Carter Spann FAQs
Where is Gloria Carter Spann buried?
Spann is buried in the Lebanon Baptist Church Cemetery near Plains, Georgia, alongside her parents and brother, Billy Carter.
Is Jimmy Carter the oldest living president?
Carter, who is 97 years old, is both the oldest living president and the nation’s longest-lived president.
Who is Gloria Carter Spann’s other sister?
Ruth Carter Stapleton, Spann’s other sister, was born on August 7, 1929, and was a Christian evangelist.
Gloria Carter Spann’s birthday dates