Carrie Elizabeth Peterson
Nov 5, 1945
Jul 19, 2022
Carrie Elizabeth Peterson, 76, of Louisville transitioned to her Heavenly Home on Tuesday, July 19, 2022
Visitation 4-6pm Sunday, July 24, 2022 at St Matthews Baptist Church 3515 Grandview Avenue. Family & Friends Fellowship immediately after from 6-8pm. Celebration of Life Service on Monday, July 25, 12;00pm at the church.
Carrie Elizabeth Peterson was born in Athens, Alabama on November 5,1945 to Paul and Mae Willie Stewart. She was the fourth child of six from this union. Mae Willie later united with James “Bud” Gill, who became a loving father to a total of 12 children in their blended family. Carrie attended Trinity High School in Athens and graduated early in May of 1962 at the age of 16. Shortly thereafter, she left Athens and moved to Louisville, KY where she lived with her Aunt Ovella Turner. While there, she worked various jobs as she attended a Black business school.
In March 1967, Carrie was united in marriage to Jessie Lee Peterson. Together, they had three sons, Jeffrey, Jason, and Joel. The family were members of Community Baptist Church for many years where Carrie served across multiple ministries, including the music ministry, using her beautiful and powerful voice in praise to God. In the last few years, she was a faithful member of Watson Memorial Baptist Church. Carrie was a woman of strong faith, believed in the power of prayer and was eager to share the goodness of God with whomever she encountered.
She began working at South Central Bell and over the years, assumed increasingly progressive roles across the organization. While there, she started Study Partners in 1989, a tutoring center and library in the Newburg area serving children in first through sixth grades. Carrie came up with the idea for the program after becoming concerned about groups of idle youngsters she saw milling around a grocery store near her home. She remembered how her parents stressed the value of keeping busy, and while she didn’t appreciate it when she was younger, she learned that keeping busy keeps you out of trouble. Carrie and her sons would walk around the neighborhood knocking on doors to encourage children to come to the program. Carrie was also known to spend time with the parents, encouraging their participation in the program and assisting their children.
The tutoring program started out as a summer program, but after the first year, Carrie realized the program was filling a void and she made it her mission to keep the program going. She was able to secure support from local businesses, county government and civic groups to not only move the program to be open year-round, but to also move into a larger facility to accommodate more children. The program, geared to sharpen skills and build self-esteem, was staffed with volunteer tutors and that first summer, more than 35 children were served. For her role in developing this program, she was awarded the “Winning Spirit of Service” Award from Bell South.
She completed the Occupational Education Program at University of Louisville and received a teaching certification so the Study Partners program could have a permanent certified teacher. Later, she went back to school, attending the University of Louisville and received her Bachelor of Arts in Education.
After a successful career at South Central Bell, Carrie retired early and moved fully into her second career and calling as an educator. The Study Partners Program evolved into the SummerBridge Program, where she became the Executive Director. SummerBridge Louisville, a six-week academic program for rising 6th, 7th and 8th graders, continued the focus on achieving greater academic success for under-resourced students. Carrie partnered first with Kentucky Country Day to house the program and then with Sacred Heart Academy. She retired from SummerBridge Louisville, but within a few short years, Carrie’s passion led her back into the classroom, first at West End Boys School and lastly with Sacred Heart Academy where she continued to teach and advise at-risk youth.
For her work and countless hours serving her community, she was the recipient of the Bethune Achievers Award from the National Council of Negro Women; a Certification of Appreciation from David Armstrong/Jefferson County in recognition of her interest in and support of Jefferson County and its citizens; and the Bell Award, presented to those who have shown the true ‘spirit of Louisville’ through unselfish, humanitarian service. She was also selected as a Community Hero Torchbearer for the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay. She was one of 5,500 selected from the region to represent the best of their community by carrying the Olympic Flame.
“Grammy”, as she was called by her grandchildren, was very active in their lives and made it her mission to instill the same values and work ethic in them that she did with her sons. She taught them, and all of us, how to “make do”, to take whatever you had or didn’t have and make it work, to never give up.
Her motto was “Help others in any way possible” and she was known to say “Helping children is what it is all about. They are our future.” She has touched many, many lives through her compassion, her empathy, her exponential love. She dedicated her life to helping and lifting others up.
Carrie was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Jessie, and siblings Mary Dickerson, Ralph Gill, Maggie Gill, James Gill Jr, Billy James Stewart and Paul Stewart Jr. (infant). On Tuesday, July 19, 2022, Carrie Peterson transitioned to her Heavenly Home. She leaves behind to cherish her memories her three sons and their wives, Jeff Sr. and Jennifer, Jason and Crystal and Joel and Rayven; 13 grandchildren, Janee, Jeff Jr., Kaila, Brandon, Christon, Jae, John, Josiah, Joshua, Jeremiah, Jayda, Bryson and Eliana; a great-granddaughter Janai; two ‘adopted’ daughters, Tamara Dickerson(Luter) and Alicia Dickerson and one "adopted" son, Corey Dickerson, and a great nephew who lived with them for many years, Terronce Adams; siblings Agnes Stewart, Robert Stewart, Frank Derrick, Gary Gill, Barbara (Gill) Lee and L.C. Gill; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and other family members and dear friends.