Rosalynn Carter, renowned as the former first lady of the United States and a steadfast adviser to President Jimmy Carter during his singular term, has passed away at the age of 96.
The Carter Center confirmed her peaceful demise at her rural Georgia residence in Plains, where she had been living with dementia, enduring several months of declining health.
In a statement, President Jimmy Carter expressed, “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.”
The Carters, wed in 1946, held the distinction of being the longest-married presidential couple. Following President Carter’s term conclusion in 1981, they continued to contribute significantly to public service, notably through the nonprofit Carter Center and the Habitat for Humanity charity.
Initially, Rosalynn Carter, a relatively unknown figure beyond Georgia, emerged as a quiet force in Washington. She evolved into an eloquent speaker and advocate, with an enduring passion for mental health issues extending beyond her White House tenure.
President Carter acknowledged her pivotal role, referring to her as “an extension of myself” and “my closest adviser.” She actively participated in Cabinet meetings, political strategy discussions, and official missions to Latin America. Despite the challenges, such as the Iranian hostage crisis during the 1980 re-election bid, Rosalynn’s steadfast support and extensive nationwide speaking tour bolstered Carter’s political standing.
Rosalynn Carter’s commitment to mental health advocacy traces back to the early 1970s when, as the first lady of Georgia, she engaged in efforts to improve services for the mentally ill. Her enduring impact on various fronts reflects a legacy of service and dedication that transcends her time in the White House.