‘They love life.’ Close friend says eating healthy, exercise key to the Carters’ longevity

PLAINS, Ga. — Tourists are showing up in the city of Plains to honor former President Jimmy Carter.

Channel 2′s Richard Elliot spoke with one of the family’s close friends about the Carters’ secret to a long life. No surprise, they credit healthy eating and plenty of exercise.

Jill Stuckey told Elliot that she’s known the Carters for 30 years and is the superintendent of the Jimmy Carter National Historical Park.

Few people know the Carters as well as Stuckey.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to get to work with them in many different capacities over the last close to 30 years,” Stuckey said.

She first met the Carters in 1994 and worked at their church before getting the job as park superintendent at the Jimmy Carter National Historical Park.

She’s kind of a presidential park ranger and the former president is one of her close friends.


“They love life, and they love people, and they want to live as long as they possibly can, and they’re doing a great job of it,” Stuckey said.

Stuckey says both the former president and first lady dedicated themselves to staying healthy and she insists that’s why they’ve lived long, healthy lives.

“But all their life, they have always eaten right every single day, exercised every single day, so they’re just the most determined people because they want to be on this earth as long as they possibly can to help as many people as they possibly can,” Stuckey said.

Now, the Carter Center sent word that the former president is receiving home hospice care instead of additional medical interventions.

It’s these days that Stuckey says their spiritual health is as strong as their physical health.

“They are both deeply religious people, yeah … I got to be with them at church and they not only talk the talk, they walk the walk, and that, I guess, is somewhat rare these days,” Stuckey said.

Stuckey says they have seen an uptick in visitors the past couple of days as many people want to take the opportunity to come and see Jimmy Carter’s hometown.