Former US First Lady Rosalynn Carter Passes Away at 96
Beloved Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter's Passing at 96
Former US first lady Rosalynn Carter, the beloved spouse of former President Jimmy Carter, passed away on Sunday at the age of 96 at their residence in Plains, Georgia. The announcement of her demise was made by their nonprofit organization.
Rosalynn Carter’s most renowned contributions occurred after her time in the White House, as she and her husband tirelessly advocated for human rights, democracy, and global health concerns, all the while maintaining a remarkably humble public persona.
Her health had deteriorated, and she had been diagnosed with dementia in May, leading her to enter at-home hospice care on Friday before her passing.
In an official statement, the Carter Center expressed, “Former first lady Rosalynn Carter, a passionate champion of mental health, caregiving, and women’s rights, passed away Sunday at her home in Plains, Georgia, at the age of 96. She died peacefully, with family by her side.”
Jimmy Carter, the former Democratic president, shared his heartfelt sentiments in the statement, saying, “Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished. She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me.”
Throughout Jimmy Carter’s extensive political career, his wife played a central role in his campaigns. During their time in the White House from 1977 to 1981, Rosalynn Carter stood out as a first lady deeply committed to participating in policy matters. She attended Cabinet meetings, represented the President at important events, and served as his personal envoy to Latin American nations, according to the White House website.
Numerous prominent figures in US politics paid tribute to the former first lady on Sunday. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden lauded the Carters’ “deep love” as the “definition of partnership” and praised Rosalynn Carter for her enduring hope, warmth, and optimism. Former President Bill Clinton and former First Lady Hillary Clinton expressed their profound gratitude for Carter’s dedication to human dignity and her compassionate advocacy.
Rosalynn Carter’s life began in the small town of Plains on August 18, 1927, where she was the first of four children. At the age of 13, her father passed away, and she worked alongside her mother, who became a dressmaker to make ends meet. Her path crossed with Jimmy Carter in 1945 while she was in college and he was on leave from the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. They married in 1946 and went on to achieve several longevity records in US politics, including being the longest-wed presidential couple and, in the case of 99-year-old Jimmy Carter, the oldest living US president.
Former first ladies Michelle Obama and Melania Trump also honored Rosalynn Carter’s legacy. Obama recalled their occasional lunches in the White House, where Carter offered words of advice and a helping hand. Trump remembered Carter’s servant’s heart and dedication to her family and country.
Rosalynn Carter is survived by her four children, 11 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren, although she lost a grandson in 2015. Their son, Chip Carter, highlighted her humanitarian contributions in the Carter Center’s statement, saying, “Besides being a loving mother and extraordinary first lady, my mother was a great humanitarian in her own right. She will be sorely missed not only by our family but by the many people who have better mental health care and access to resources for caregiving today.”
In February of this year, the Carter family had announced that Jimmy Carter had entered hospice care in Plains, at the same modest house they had lived in since the 1960s. Despite his health challenges, the former president continued to welcome visitors, stay informed about the Carter Center’s humanitarian work, and indulge in his fondness for ice cream, as relayed by his family.