Jimmy Carter, the oldest former US president, plans to celebrate his 97th birthday quietly at his home in southwestern Georgia Friday, an aide said.
Slowed down by his age in recent years and avoiding publicity during the coronavirus pandemic, Carter has no plans to appear in public, said spokeswoman Deanna Congello at Carter Center, Atlanta.
Employees at the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site in the small town of Plains recorded congratulations for the former president, and members of the public can sign happy birthday cards online at www.cartercenter.org.
Dozens of people had sent birthday wishes early, and many made no mention of the Democratic president’s tenure from 1977-1981. Instead, they claim to be inspired by Carter’s post-presidential life which included volunteering, writing several books, advocating for justice and years teaching Sunday school.
“We love you for your honesty, consistency and eloquence,” one message read. Many others have shared photos of themselves with Carter and his wife, Rosalynn. The couple celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary last July.
Former president Carter was diagnosed with melanoma that had spread to his liver and brain in 2015. He has been on treatment and declared cancer-free four months later. He has fallen several times, including one that left him with a hip fracture in October 2019, and has recently been using a walker when out in public.
President Joe Biden and state capital Jill Biden visited the Carter couple at their residence last April. “We sat down and talked about the past,” Biden said of one of his predecessors.
The quiet birthday celebrations may have been more somber as the family is preparing for the funeral of Carter’s daughter-in-law, Annette Davis Carter, Jeff Carter’s wife, in the Plains on Saturday. Annette died earlier this month at the age of 68. [uh/lt]