- ASSOCIATED PRESS
Jimmy Carter Turns 99 at Home with Rosalynn and Other Family as Tributes Come from around the World
16:49 JST, October 1, 2023
ATLANTA (AP) — Jimmy Carter has always been a man of discipline and habit. But the former president will break routine Sunday, putting off his practice of quietly watching church services online to instead celebrate his 99th birthday with his wife, Rosalynn, and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in Plains.
The gathering will take place in the same one-story structure where the Carters lived before he was first elected to the Georgia Senate in 1962. It comes amid tributes from around the world. But for Carter’s family, it’s an opportunity to honor a personal legacy.
“The remarkable piece to me and I think to my family is that while my grandparents have accomplished so much, they have really remained the same sort of South Georgia couple that lives in a 600-person village where they were born,” said grandson Jason Carter, who chairs the board at The Carter Center, which his grandparents founded in 1982 after leaving the White House a year earlier.
Despite being global figures, the younger Carter said his grandparents have always “made it easy for us, as a family, to be as normal as we can be.”
Celebrating the longest-lived U.S. president this way was inconceivable not long ago. The Carters announced in February that their patriarch was forgoing further medical treatments and entering home hospice care after a series of hospitalizations. Yet Carter, who overcame cancer diagnosed at age 90 and learned to walk after having his hip replaced at age 94, defied all odds again.
“If Jimmy Carter were a tree, he’d be an towering, old Southern oak,” said Donna Brazile, a former Democratic national chairperson and presidential campaign manager who got her start on Carter’s campaigns. “He’s as good as they come and tough as they come.”
Jill Stuckey, a longtime Plains resident who visits the former first couple regularly, cautioned to “never underestimate Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter.”
His latest resilience has allowed Carter a rare privilege even for presidents: He’s been able to enjoy months of accolades typically reserved for when a former White House resident dies. The latest round includes a flood of messages from world leaders and pop culture figures donning “Jimmy Carter 99” hats, with many of them focusing on Carter’s four decades of global humanitarian work after leaving the Oval Office.
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