Carter, who left the White House in 1981 after one term, outlived any other U.S. president.
He and his wife Rosalyn, 95, greeted well-wishers in public over the weekend during Plains’ annual Peanut Festival. A Secret Service agent drove the Carter family in a red convertible. The Carter family still owns farmland that grows peanuts.
“It was a beautiful day. It all came together,” Stuckey said, describing the incident in which Carters’ children, grandson and great-grandchild walked in the back of the car. “Some people dropped their jaws when they saw them. People were clapping and some people were in tears.”
Friends said Carter was following news of Hurricane Ian and praying for those suffering from the storm. For decades, the Carters have worked with Habitat for Humanity, which built affordable housing and helped rebuild damaged homes after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
After the Podcast: The Faith of Jimmy Carter
How easy it was for Carter to continue living in his hometown of less than 800 people after he stepped down as president.
After leaving Washington, he spent decades promoting human rights and democracy around the world, winning 2002 Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Committee cited “his decades of tireless efforts to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, advance democracy and human rights, and promote economic and social development”.
Until recently, he taught Sunday school at the local church. Carter has overcome serious health problems, including being diagnosed with melanoma in 2015, which had spread to his liver and brain. After treatment, doctors said he overcame it and later that year declared him cancer-free.
In honor of his birthday, thousands of people posted “Happy Birthday President Carter!” online. Website created by the Carter Center.
“What struck me was how deeply people felt about him,” said Matthew DeGalan, a spokesman for the Carter Center in Atlanta. “People see him as a man with values and principles that they ignore in politics today.”
Many admirers pointed out that Carter was a visionary in installing solar panels in the White House, even though he was criticized at the time.
Carter, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who served on submarines, is expected to watch a Navy-Air Force football game and perhaps his favorite baseball team, the Atlanta Braves, for part of his birthday, according to friends.
Last year, the Carters celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. The two were rarely separated, and they were together in the living room, talking to family and friends on his birthday.