Three months later enter end-of-life care at home, former President Jimmy Carter remains in good spirits as he visits family, follows the public discussion of his legacy and receives updates on the Carter Center’s humanitarian work around the world, says his grandson. He’s even enjoying regular helpings of ice cream.
“They’re just getting together with family right now, but they’re doing it in the best possible way: the two of them together at home,” Jason Carter said of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, now 98 and 95.
“They’ve been together for over 70 years. They also know they’re not in charge,” the younger Carter said Tuesday in a brief interview. “Their faith is really grounded at this point. That way it’s as good as it can be.”
America’s longest-serving president, Jimmy Carter, announced in February that, after a series of brief hospital stays, he would forgo further medical interventions and spend the rest of his life in the same modest one-story house in Plains where they lived when he was president. was first elected to the state senate in 1962.
President Joe Biden said in March that Carter asked him to deliver his eulogy. While no illnesses were reported when Carter said he would enter hospice care, Biden said he “spent time” with Carter and said the cancer “finally caught up with him”.
Carter had a small cancerous mass removed from his liver in 2015, and a year later he announced that he needed no further treatment as an experimental drug had eliminated any signs of cancer.
The palliative care announcement has generated continued tributes and media attention to his 1977-81 presidency and the global humanitarian work the couple has done since founding The Carter Center in 1982, including Carter’s work with Habitat for Humanity.
“That’s been one of the blessings of the last two months,” said Jason Carter, a former state senator and 2014 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, after speaking Tuesday at an event honoring his grandfather. “He’s certainly starting to see the spill and it’s been rewarding for him for sure.”
The former president also gets updates on the Carter Center’s guinea worm eradication program, launched in the mid-1980s when millions of people were suffering from the parasite transmitted through unclean drinking water. Last year, there were less than two dozen cases worldwide.
And in less serious moments, he also continues to eat peanut butter ice cream, his favorite flavor, maintaining his political brand of peanut producer, said his grandson.
Andrew Young, who served as Carter’s UN ambassador, told the AP that he also visited the Carters “a couple of weeks ago” and was “very pleased that we were able to laugh and joke about old times.”
Young and Jason Carter joined other friends and admirers on Tuesday at a celebration of the former president along Jimmy Carter Boulevard in the Norcross suburb northeast of Atlanta. Young said the setting – in one of America’s most racially and ethnically diverse suburban areas – reflects the former president’s broader legacy as a seeker of peace, conflict resolution and racial equity.
When the 10-mile stretch of highway in Gwinnett County was renamed in 1976 — the year he was elected president — the small towns and bedroom communities on the outskirts of the greater Atlanta area were just beginning to grow. Now, Gwinnett alone has a population of around 1 million people, and Jimmy Carter Boulevard is thriving, with many businesses owned by black, immigrant, or first-generation American owners.
Young, a top aide to the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement, said Carter started out as a white politician from southern Georgia in the era of Jim Crow segregation, but proved his values were different.
As governor and president, Carter believed “that the world can come to Georgia and show everyone how to live together,” Young said.
Now Georgia “feels like the whole world,” said Young, 91.
Nicole Love Hendrickson, elected in 2020 as the first black chair of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners, praised Carter as “a man with an exceptional regard for the humanity of others”.
Alluding to Carter’s landslide defeat in re-election, Young said he personally enjoyed seeing historians and others encounter success stories in re-evaluating Carter’s presidency – ceding control of the Panama Canal, developing a national energy strategy, engaging more in Africa than any US president has ever done. . Such achievements were unpopular at the time or overshadowed by Carter’s inability to contain inflation, tame energy crises or free American hostages in Iran before the 1980 election.
“I said to him, ‘You know, it took them over 50 years to appreciate President Lincoln. It might take that long to appreciate you,'” Young said.
“Nobody was thinking about the Panama Canal. Nobody would have thought of uniting Egypt and Israel. I mean, I was thinking of trying to do something in Africa, but nobody else in Washington was, and he did. He always had an idea about everything. “
Still, when Jason Carter addressed his grandparents’ admirers on Tuesday, he argued against thinking of them as global celebrities.
“They’re like all your grandparents — I mean, insofar as your grandparents are south Georgia rednecks,” he said with a laugh. “If you go down there later today, next to the sink they have a little rack where they dry Ziplock bags.”
Most notable, said Jason Carter, is the fact that such an encounter took place while his grandfather was still alive.
“We thought that when he went to hospice, it was very close to the end,” he told attendees. “Now, I’m just going to tell you, he’s going to be 99 in October.”