Former WHCA Members Remember Rosalynn Carter

Published 10:32 pm Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Members of the White House Communications Agency, known as WHCA, shared memories of Rosalynn Carter. Larry Little, Presidential Communications Officer shared a response after Rosalynn Carter’s death.
“This is just kind of from the heart. On behalf of the White House Communications Agency who served with President Carter, our prayers go out to the Carter Family. I served as the Presidential Communications Officer providing communications support around the world and in Plains on many occasions. Mrs. Carter was so kind and considerate. The Carter family adopted us when we came to Plains on visits, and I have many cherished memories of her and of her family. WHCA conducted reunions in 2021 for President Carter’s 98th birthday, and also recently for his 99th birthday, and both years we had over 100 people. We had a 160 the first year. She will be missed, her memory will live on, through those of us who were able to serve her and her family.”
Many have talked about the resolve that garnered Rosalynn Carter the reputation of being a ‘steel magnolia,’ but it was the quiet grace Rosalynn Carter showed that most impressed Little.
“The first Lady, she was quiet. She was there, and she was smiling, but the thing was she was a very kind person.”
He remarked on her perseverance.
“She went practically everywhere that the President went. I can’t think of a trip that I can come up with that she was not on if he was there, I mean everything from rafting down the rivers.”
Little talked about how his job brought him into close proximity with the whole Carter family.
“Our job was to provide communication support to the President. When they would call the switchboard, our operators would answer, they were always very kind to them. Mostly when we were in Plains was when I saw her the most. Like I said she was quiet, usually, very kind to the people, many times they would bring cake and various things over to the communications trailer.”
When asked about her reputation for standing firm on her opinion, he replied.
“Well, she was firm on her opinions when it pertained to her husband. My experience with her was that if she had something to say firm, it was usually not in public. That’s a part of the dignity that she had.”
He continued to talk about the graciousness she showed.
“She would come and shake hands. When they had weddings, we were invited to receptions.”
Trip Officer Harold Looney described how he had come to meet Rosalynn Carter.
“I was born and raised and went to high school in Sylacauga Alabama. I went to the White House in 1978 as a trip officer, helping to plan the trips for the President. We provided communications for the President and the secret service and everybody else that needed to talk on the phone.
One evening, I got a call from Mrs. Carter, and she wanted to know if I would bring my crew to the Wednesday night service that they were having there in Plains. And I told her that it would be an honor for us to go to church as her guests.
She stood up and she introduced each and every one of us and she introduced me as the team leader. I thought that that was quite an honor. I didn’t know that she knew I was the leader of the crew. She talked to each and every one of the people that was on my team that evening. I want to say that it was at least half a dozen of us. She was very friendly, she was very appreciative, and the thing that really honored all of us was we, when we went to the church, to the front door, she came out and met us and let us in.”
He summarized her character.
“She was an outstanding lady. She was straightforward, and to the point. Nothing phony about her.”