Former U.S. First Lady Rosalynn Carter, hailed by President Jimmy Carter as ‘an extension of myself,’ peacefully departed this Sunday at the age of 96.
Mrs. Carter, renowned for her unwavering commitment to service and guided by her steadfast faith, entered hospice care at her Plains, Georgia home a few days prior, surrounded by her loving family.
Michelle Obama, in a heartfelt social media post, expressed gratitude for the valuable advice and support she received from Mrs. Carter during her time in the White House. Mrs. Carter’s impact extended beyond politics, touching lives in profoundly meaningful ways.
You learn very quickly that there is no handbook or rules to being First Lady. Technically, it’s not even an official position. And while there are spoken and unspoken expectations that provide some structure, the role is largely shaped by the passions and aspirations of the… pic.twitter.com/MDOVk8NtR1
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) November 19, 2023
The couple, known for their active involvement in the Plains community, remained engaged at the Maranatha Baptist Church even after leaving the White House. Both served as deacons, with Jimmy also dedicating his time as a Sunday school teacher.
Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, served as the 39th President of the United States from 1977 to 1981. The Carters, having tied the knot in 1946, held the record as the longest-married U.S. presidential couple.
Reflecting on his life, President Carter once shared, “The best thing I ever did was marry Rosalynn.” He credited her as his closest adviser and described their partnership as the pinnacle of his life.
Before her husband’s presidential tenure, Rosalynn, relatively unknown outside Georgia, stood by him during his journey from peanut farmer to governor. Their time in Washington saw them as a formidable team, with President Carter often referring to his wife as an extension of himself. She participated in cabinet meetings and political discussions, showcasing her influence in his decision-making.
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, in a statement, lauded Rosalynn Carter for inspiring the nation and the world. Recognizing her as a champion for equal rights, mental health, and caregivers, the Bidens highlighted her significant contributions.
Rosalynn Carter’s advocacy for mental health originated in the early 1970s, prompted by her realization of the depth of the issue during her husband’s gubernatorial campaign in Georgia. Her efforts continued beyond the political arena, with the couple becoming key figures in the Habitat For Humanity charity, constructing homes for families in need. In 2002, their humanitarian endeavors culminated in Jimmy Carter being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Expressing his gratitude for the prestigious award, Jimmy Carter, in a teary-eyed speech in Plains, credited Rosalynn for being a part of everything he had done. The Carter Center, the nonprofit organization founded by the couple, announced that Mrs. Carter is survived by her four children, 11 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren.
Rosalynn Carter’s legacy encompasses not only her role as a First Lady but also her tireless dedication to various causes, leaving an indelible mark on the nation and the world. Her passing is mourned, but her contributions to equality, mental health, and humanitarian efforts will be remembered for generations to come.