The Carter Center announced on Sunday that Rosalynn Carter, the former first lady, passed away at the age of 96.
According to the Carter Center, she passed away on Sunday, November 19th at 2:10 p.m. ET in her residence in Plains, Georgia with her loved ones by her side.
“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” former President Jimmy Carter said in a statement. “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.”
In May, her family announced that she was diagnosed with dementia and remained living at home in Plains, Georgia with her husband. Last week, they shared that she had moved into….
have tested positive for COVID-19
Unfortunately, President Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, have received positive test results for COVID-19.to her for “inspiring a nation and the world.” saying in a statement: “Throughout her incredible life as First Lady of Georgia and the First Lady of the United States, Rosalynn did so much to address many of society’s greatest needs. She was a champion for equal rights and opportunities for women and girls; an advocate for mental health and wellness for every person; and a supporter of the often unseen and uncompensated caregivers of our children, aging loved ones, and people with disabilities.”
Rosalynn Carter, as a trusted advisor and intimate companion to her husband, played a pivotal role in the White House and advocated for important issues like mental health research. Despite her upbringing as a small-town girl with no aspirations for a public life, she recognized the influence of political positions and their ability to enact positive change on a global scale.
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter shared a unique partnership that was not typical for a president and first lady. While other first ladies may have offered advice to their husbands behind closed doors, the Carters had a strong bond and were open about sharing their thoughts with each other. Rosalynn was not afraid to speak her mind to Jimmy, and he highly valued her input. She even attended Cabinet meetings, which was unprecedented, and faced criticism for doing so.
“During an interview with CBS News’ Bob Schieffer in October 1980, she shared that Jimmy Carter had always taught her to do her best and not to worry about criticism. She explained that no matter what actions she takes, whether it be simply serving tea as a hostess or pursuing a project, criticism will always exist. The key is to have confidence in oneself.”
Born in Plains on August 18, 1927, the oldest of four children, Rosalynn Smith started dating Jimmy Carter when she was 18.
On my initial date with him, upon returning home my mother remarked to CBS News’ Ed Rabel, “I must say, I quite like Jimmy. He has a lovely smile.” She then added, “He’s had that charming smile for quite some time.”
The pair got married the following year, during 1946. Jimmy Carter was serving in the Navy, which gave them the opportunity to travel. Their three sons were born in different locations. Rosalynn Carter enjoyed this lifestyle and was not eager to go back to her hometown.
She explained to Rabel that she was living away from home and taking care of three young children on her own. She believed that returning home would mean having her mother and Jimmy’s mother giving her instructions on how to handle things.
After the passing of Jimmy Carter’s father in 1953, they went back to Plains to manage the family peanut enterprise. Despite this, the pair had more ambitious goals and Jimmy Carter became governor of Georgia in 1970. Rosalynn Carter also actively campaigned alongside him and independently.
Throughout the 1976 presidential race, this pattern persisted and she served as his surrogate in locations he couldn’t reach. They would convene in Plains on a weekly basis to exchange information. By this time, they had welcomed their fourth child, Amy, who frequently accompanied them on their campaign journeys.
“When we returned home, we enjoyed visiting the farm and strolling through the fields. It provided us with a couple of hours to discuss the campaign, share our experiences, and talk about how we hoped things would progress. I would share my insights and observations from different states with him.” – Rosalynn Carter shared with CBS News about her and her husband’s tradition of spending time on the farm together.
Once they settled into the White House, she maintained her position as a trusted advisor for her husband and utilized her influence as the first lady to advocate for greater awareness and support for the mentally ill, a cause she had been dedicated to for a significant amount of time. She also held the honorary role of chairperson for the President’s Commission on Mental Health.
As the first lady, she continued to travel and represented the president in Latin America, remarking with a grin on the uncommon nature of her role.
She shared, amidst laughter in 1977, that she planned to pass on all of the information she had to Jimmy and was eager to regularly seek his advice.
Following their departure from Washington in 1980, the Carters embarked on the next chapter of their lives with their signature enthusiasm. They established the Carter Center in Atlanta, which advocates for peace and resolving conflicts. Their endeavors included collaborating with Habitat for Humanity to construct homes for those in need in the United States and traveling to various distant locations in pursuit of peace.
In 1999, President Clinton presented the Medal of Freedom to the Carters. The Carters’ strong partnership, which lasted over 73 years, is the longest presidential marriage in the country’s history.
On July 7, 2023, they marked their 77th year of marriage.
On July 12, 2011, Rosalynn Carter gave a speech at the funeral of her friend and fellow first lady, Betty Ford. She praised Betty by saying that she shared similar qualities with her, such as being unafraid to do things in a unique way and standing up against fear, discrimination, and social stigma.