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Plains, Ga., prepares for memorial services for former first lady Rosalynn Carter

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Plains, Ga., the birthplace and home of President Jimmy Carter, is preparing to say goodbye to former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. Grant Blankenship of Georgia Public Broadcasting talked with residents and visitors.

GRANT BLANKENSHIP, BYLINE: Monday, Cathy Williams and her husband were busy washing the dust from the season's peanut harvest off the porch of their home in Plains. Cathy Williams says, of course, Rosalynn Carter's passing is sad.

CATHY WILLIAMS: We hate to see death, but we know there's life after death. And we know where Miss Rosalynn's going.

BLANKENSHIP: Williams says most people in town share that assurance.

WILLIAMS: Well, yes, I think we all, as Plains people, share the Christian faith. And so, again, we take comfort in knowing, you know, there are greater things to come in this life. But we also know the great things that she did in this life.

BLANKENSHIP: And so, says Williams, Rosalynn Carter set a particular type of example from their shared faith.

WILLIAMS: The giving heart. I mean, they were givers. You know, I think everything that they had they shared. We need to share, you know, with others to help other people.

BLANKENSHIP: It was in the midst of helping other people where Winston Churchill met Rosalynn Carter at one of the events run by the church they both attended, Maranatha Baptist.

WINSTON CHURCHILL: Every third Saturday of the month, we give away a distribution of food to the poor. And that's when I met her. You know, I shook her hands right here. To me, she was humble, just not political. You know, she was always one person to another, you know?

BLANKENSHIP: The town of Plains has long been a tourist destination because it is the Carters' hometown. And they're expecting a lot of visitors who want to pay their respects. Suzi Miskovic and Jasmina Blantin of Clearwater, Fla., took a break from their tour of other historic sites in the region. For them, the example Carter set was basic.

SUZI MISKOVIC: No matter the politics, it seemed like they really cared about, you know, the people around them. And very sad to hear.

JASMINA BLANTIN: Yeah, yeah. Definitely a great testimony to just living a decent life that's caring of others.

BLANKENSHIP: Three days of memorial events are scheduled for next week, starting Monday, with a motorcade from Plains to Atlanta, where Rosalynn Carter will lie in repose at the Carter Center. There will be a public service on Tuesday. And then she'll be laid to rest on the Carter family property in Plains on Wednesday. For NPR News, I'm Grant Blankenship in Plains, Ga.

(SOUNDBITE OF LANTERNA'S "NEW MOON") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Grant came to public media after a career spent in newspaper photojournalism. As an all platform journalist he seeks to wed the values of public radio storytelling and the best of photojournalism online.
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