Helen Carter, of the singing Carter family, whose songs from the Appalachia region helped popularize country music, died June 2 at Vanderbilt U. Medical Center in Nashville following a lengthy illness. She was 70.
The eldest of the Carter daughters, she sang with sisters Anita and June (the latter of whom married country star Johnny Cash in 1968) and their mother, Maybelle Carter.
Beginning in the late 1930s, they played live on radio stations in Del Rio, Texas, Charlotte, N.C., Richmond, Va., and Knoxville, Tenn. In Knoxville, guitarist Chet Atkins joined the band, and the Carter family went on to become regulars on the Ozark Jubilee and the Grand Ole Opry.
Carter also recorded as a solo artist, and co-wrote the 1959 hit “Poor Old Heartsick Me.”
Carter married pilot Glenn Jones in 1950 and raised a family while continuing to perform, retiring due to illness in 1995.