Jimmy Carter tells Sunday school class his grandson has died

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President Jimmy Carter teaching Sunday School at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Ga. Photo courtesy of Frank Kavanaugh

President Jimmy Carter teaching Sunday School at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Ga. Photo courtesy of Frank Kavanaugh

PLAINS, Ga. — Former president Jimmy Carter was late to his Bible study class Sunday morning, something he said never happens as he walked up to the front of the sanctuary. There he received hugs from those who likely already knew why.

His service started with an announcement of something Carter’s voice indicated was weighing heavily on his heart.

His grandson, Jeremy Carter, who had spent Thanksgiving with him just weeks ago, died suddenly in the night.

Carter said his grandson, just 28 years old, had excused himself from supper to lie down because he wasn’t feeling well.

 “So he went to his room to lay on the bed and when they went to see if he was OK and his heart quit beating,” Carter said quietly in front of his class at Maranatha Baptist Church.

Carter said his grandson was rushed to the hospital around 1:30 a.m. ET. There, Carter said, Jeremy Carter’s heart stopped again.

The former president, now 91, spoke briefly of his grandson and how he was full of life and very special to him.

And then, as he has done for years and through his own health issues, he began teaching his Sunday school class.

Sunday’s class continued on as planned with a theme related to the upcoming holiday.

“I hope that out of this Christmas season we’ll remember what the angels’ song said: Joy to the world, and peace on Earth; goodwill to every person,” he said.

(Christopher B. Buchanan originally reported for WXIA-TV, Atlanta; Thomas Frank of USA TODAY contributed to this story)

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  • Proctor S. Burress

    President Carter may be one of the most beloved figures of our nation and any.
    We are all diminished by the death of one of the human family and especially those neighbors, family members to whom we have a connection.

    Speaking of faith, we are gratified by the faith of president Carter and that of any person on earth which is genuinely held and abided by even if we don’t share much of it at all.

    As the English poet said, “…think NOT that the bell tolls in vain…!”

    Now how can we get on with caring about one another across national divides, faith, languages and political differences?

    Proctor S. Burress