Former President Jimmy Carter is no stranger to the people.
At college. At the ballpark. At his library. Readers have met the former Georgia governor everywhere.
"In the '70s I was a child living in Davenport, Iowa, when President Carter vacationed on the Delta Queen riverboat," Stephanie Edwards said.
"I lived close to the river, and I saw a police woman standing on a corner on River Drive in front of my elementary school, which turned out to be on the route his motorcade was going to take. It was just the two of us standing there, and I will never forget how he waved and smiled at us from his limousine as it passed!"
Politicians and celebrities took to Twitter to express support and admiration for 39th president, but it's the stories from Georgia residents that sum up Carter the man.
"A few years ago, we had the privilege of getting a private tour of the Jimmy Carter Library by Jimmy Carter. It was a memorable tour of his presidency," Ken Leebow said.
"One interesting observation from President Carter: 'You have done something I have never done. You have met a Democratic president.' Of course, this tour predated the Clinton and Obama presidencies. We wish President Carter well."
Jane Lloyd of Roswell met Carter on a plane: "My husband and I were on a flight from Atlanta to Paris in 2003, and Jimmy Carter was on the same flight. He came around and shook the hand of everyone on the flight. How cool is that?"
Many readers have met Carter at local events.
"One of the traditions at the Plains Peanut Festival 5K and 1 mile road races is for President Carter to be on hand to award the trophies to the overall and age-group winners," said Don Cleveland, of West Point.
As Carter handed Cleveland his trophy, Carter "seemed particularly delighted to note that the T-shirt I was wearing bore the picture of our encounter taken at the 1998 event."
Randy Todd saw Carter a few years ago as grand marshall of the Peachtree City Fourth of July parade.
"I have admired and loved him and the first lady since he was our governor," Todd said. "What a kind, honest, compassionate, Christian man. Short story but it meant a lot to see him in person."
Robert Vincoli met more than one Carter at a football game.
"Many years ago I went to a Georgia, Georgia Tech game, (and) met him and sat with his mother in a box and enjoyed the game. Ms. Lillian gave me a bag of peanuts when I came in. Very nice family."
When Melinda K. Vernon met Carter, it was very sweet.
"Back in 1974 I worked for the Georgia Department of Agriculture. At the capital they were having a Georgia Bicentennial party. … President Carter (then governor) came by to get a piece of the cake. I gave him his piece and he kisses me on the cheek. The picture was in the AJC. I love President Carter and wish him health and pain free rest of his life."
Readers who met Carter in their younger years still remember the encounters.
"I met Jimmy Carter when I was around 10,' Ross Alford recalled. "He held a fundraiser at my grandfather's property in Stone Mountain. … I got to meet him, and all cousins, brother and I had our picture taken with him inside my grandfather's house. … It is a memory I will never forget."
Robert Coleman of Atlanta met him at Emory.
"... I was a senior at Emory in 1986-87. I took a class in 'History of Popular Culture in America.' The professor roped him in one day to give us a guest lecture on the relationship between the president and the media," Coleman said.
"Since bad coverage in the media played a significant part in his failure to win re-election, it was a fascinating topic to hear him speak on. He came across as a remarkably intelligent and thoughtful man, and I am grateful for having had the experience."
As a teen working in a small pharmacy in Snellville, Jean Townsend was caught by surprise when then-Gov. Carter and wife Rosalynn came in, accompanied by state patrol officers.
"We were all dumbfounded and quite speechless," Townsend said. "He made a point to shake each of our hands, and asked us to vote for him for president. It seemed to happen so quickly!
"My co-worker was so struck by surprise that all he could think to say was, 'Hello, Jimmy.' He kicked himself for a long time afterward for not being more polite, and thinking of something important to say."
For Jane Hursey, it was turning down a meeting with Carter that has stayed with her.
Hursey received a typed letter from candidate Carter, asking for help from young people. Hursey had taken part in the Governors Honor Program in 1966.
"I wrote back to him telling that I remembered hearing him speak and that I had been impressed, but that I planned to vote for Carl Sanders because of his experience," Hursey said.
"About a week later, imagine my surprise when I received a handwritten letter from Mr. Carter, thanking me for my letter and addressing my concerns about lack of experience, and even inviting me to come visit at Plains to discuss issues further.
"I did not go visit him, or even reply to his letter, I'm ashamed to say. … However, I did become a lifelong fan, and I did vote for him for governor, and later for president."
Margaret Curtis was a volunteer in Carter's transition office after he lost re-election to Ronald Reagan.
"I helped read the hundreds of letters flooding in every day. ... It broke my heart to realize that President Carter might never be able to read all those letters, and some were deeply touching.
" My work reward was having my photo made with both Jimmy and Rosalynn, but sadly, I never received it." Curtis continued.
"However, my favorite privilege was having that opportunity to amuse the disappointed president. The photographer placed me between the two of them, but I protested. 'Put Jimmy in the middle,' I said, 'so it won't be as noticeable that Rosalynn is prettier than I am.'
"He laughed and obligingly moved over."
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