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About Phoebe Sumter, where Rosalynn Carter's final journey begins today

Mirtha Donastorg, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in News & Features

AMERICUS, Ga. — Rosalynn Carter’s journey to her final resting place begins this morning at the Phoebe Sumter Medical Center in this city in south Georgia.

The remains of the former first lady, who died Nov. 19, will be transferred from Phoebe Sumter to the Carter family motorcade around 10:30 a.m.

The medical center is where Rosalynn and former President Jimmy Carter were treated for various falls and illnesses over the years. But their involvement with the rural hospital extended beyond being patients.

”They wanted what was best for Sumter County and health care was an integral part of that,” said Carlyle Walton, CEO of Phoebe Sumter Medical Center.

For many years, a member of the Carter family was on the board of the foundation for the Sumter Regional Hospital in Americus. But in 2007, that hospital was devastated by a tornado and had to be rebuilt into what is now Phoebe Sumter.

The Carters supported the rebuilding effort. Jimmy Carter attended the groundbreaking for the new center in 2009 and Rosalynn personally wrote a letter to help the center win a national contest for a free MRI machine when it reopened in 2011, according to Walton.


In 2015, the Carters used Jimmy’s cancer diagnosis as a chance to help others, too. The local community put together a fundraiser in his honor to support other cancer patients. Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter specifically asked that some of those funds be contributed to the Phoebe Cancer Center, Walton said.

Phoebe Sumter has been Rosalynn’s temporary resting place since she passed away a little over a week ago at the home she shared with Jimmy Carter in Plains. Her Secret Service detail has accompanied her 24/7 and the family has been able to visit.

Ten current and former members of her detail will carry her remains to the Carter family motorcade, before the motorcade continues to Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus for a wreath-laying ceremony. The motorcade will then travel to Atlanta, arriving this afternoon. It will return to Plains, the Carters’ home town, for the funeral and burial on Wednesday.

”I am thankful that our team was given this opportunity to be a small part in celebrating the life of just a great woman, a great American and someone who was passionate about our community, our hospital,” Walton said.

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