Former President Jimmy Carter quietly marks his 97th birthday

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Former President Jimmy Carter teaches Sunday school at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Ga. Carter, the oldest former U.S. chief executive ever, will quietly mark his 97th birthday at home in southwest Georgia on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, an aide said. (AP Photo/John Amis, File)

PLAINS, Ga. (AP) — Ex-President Jimmy Carter, the oldest former U.S. chief executive ever, will quietly mark his 97th birthday at home in southwest Georgia on Friday, an aide said.

Slowed by age in recent years and keeping a low profile during the coronavirus pandemic, Carter doesn’t plan on any public appearances, said press secretary Deanna Congelio at the Carter Center in Atlanta.

Workers at the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site in tiny Plains recorded greetings for the former president, and members of the public can sign an online birthday card at www.cartercenter.org.

Dozens sent early birthday greetings, and many didn’t even mention Carter’s Democratic presidency from 1977-81. Instead, they said they were inspired by Carter’s post-presidential life that has included volunteer work, authorship of multiple books, advocacy for justice and years of teaching Sunday school.

“We love you for your honesty, consistency and for being so articulate,” said one message. Many shared photos of themselves with Carter and his wife Rosalynn, who celebrated 75 years of marriage in July.

The former president was diagnosed with melanoma that had spread to his liver and brain in 2015 but underwent treatment and announced he was cancer-free four months later. He has had a string of falls, including one that left him with a broken pelvis in October 2019, and has used a walker when in public most recently.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden visited the Carters at their home in April. “We sat and talked about the old days,” Biden said of his predecessor.

A quiet birthday could be all the more somber as the family prepares for the funeral of Carter’s daughter-in-law Annette Davis Carter, the longtime wife of Jeff Carter, in Plains on Saturday. She died earlier this month at the age of 68.

Annette Carter’s service will be held at Maranatha Baptist Church, which the ex-president helped found and where the pastor regularly asks members to pray for the Carters.

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