HOLLY POINT—Carter Blackford Lankford, 74, died peacefully on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, at her beloved Northern Neck home, Holly Point, on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay.
She is survived by her devoted husband, Dr. Nelson D. Lankford; her daughters, Catherine Carter Iseman and Kenzie Iseman Manetz; son-in-law, Brian David Manetz; and precious grandsons, Lawrence Blackford Manetz and Charles Carter Manetz.
She was predeceased by her mother, Franklin Carter Neal Blackford; her father, Pelham Blackford Jr.; and her sister, Evelyn Baylor Blackford O’Brien.
She leaves behind a great host of friends in Virginia and beyond who were drawn to her by her infectious laughter and joy for living life to its fullest.
Born in Richmond on May 28, 1946, she grew up on St. Christopher Road and spent summers at Holly Point. She graduated from St. Catherine’s School in Richmond and with her childhood friend, Cabell Goolsby West, attended The American School in Lugano, now Franklin University Switzerland. She always liked to tell people that while there she awoke every day singing the songs of the Beatles. At school she experienced an awakening thirst for learning about different cultures that led to a life of extensive travel.
For a time, her cottage in the Cotswolds attracted a stream of visiting friends from the Old Dominion. Though Europe was her first love abroad, Asia became a special attraction, especially Japan. Fresh out of school, she taught at the Panamerican School in Richmond and then much later worked at The Creative Travel Co. She contributed regular pieces to the Japan News Agency, and her travel articles appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Her globe-trotting, however, always led her back to Virginia, and that meant the sunrises and sunsets at Holly Point, her heart’s home. She insisted she was a shy person—a gregarious introvert was how she described herself. But the great variety and number of friendships she developed in the Wicomico Church District of Northumberland County argues for a more outgoing picture. A bold and tenacious gardener, she recently served as president of the Garden Club of the Northern Neck.
She was an avid reader of history from an early age, especially piqued by accounts of World War II in Europe. Diligent daily reading and a love of language and books that she inherited from her father produced an elegant, distinctive voice in her writing style. The queen of the handwritten letter, she could craft the loveliest correspondence and thank-you notes. If she inherited intellectual curiosity from her father, it was her mother who nurtured her core belief in the supreme values of kindness and building family. Throughout her life, she modeled a path of lifelong learning that she passed to her daughters and grandsons.
From a young age, she loved boats. Childhood summers spent driving her skiff around Mill Creek transitioned into navigating the Bay by water as an adult. In her 50s she learned to sail and would race in neighborhood regattas, winning many of the events. She also enjoyed kayaking with her grandchildren over to Dameron’s Marsh and around the many beaches at Holly Point. Her greatest joy in her declining days was knowing her grandsons were beginning to water ski around Holly Point, as she did as a girl.
With her dear friend Susan Knaysi, she was an enthusiastic volunteer at Commonwealth Parenting. She created and edited the organization’s “Parent Talk,” a monthly newsletter that addressed parenting issues and produced the first comprehensive list of summer opportunities for children in the Richmond community.
She was a member of Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Richmond. The family is profoundly grateful to the medical professionals at Duke University, VCU Health, Hospice of Virginia, and Bay Internists, especially Dr. Patricia Monge-Meberg. She was so appreciative of the many skilled and loving caregivers who enabled her to spend her final weeks at Holly Point.
Burial will be private at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. A celebration of her life will be held at a later time. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to her grandsons’ school, Chesapeake Academy, 107 Steamboat Road, Irvington, VA 22480.
Bennett Funeral Home of Richmond handled the arrangements.