The Life and Legacy of Rosalynn Carter

Rosalynn Carter

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, the wife of the 39th president of the United States, has passed away at the age of 96.

Carter peacefully passed away with her family by her side on Sunday, November 19, 2023, at 2:10 p.m. at her home in Plains, Georgia. She had been married for 77 years to Jimmy Carter, who is currently 99 years old.

While her husband Jimmy Carter entered hospice care after several brief hospital stays in February, Rosalynn Carter was admitted into hospice care on Friday following a dementia diagnosis in May.

Their grandson, Jason Carter, said in September, “They are together. They are at home. They’re in love, and I don’t think anyone gets more than that. I mean, it’s a perfect situation for this time in their lives.”

She is survived by four children; Jack, Chip, Jeff, and Amy, 11 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren.

Her Life and Legacy

Jimmy Carter Rosalyn CarterRosalynn and Jimmy Carter started dating in 1945, when Jimmy Carter, was home from the U.S. Navy. In 1946, they married.

“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” President Carter said in his eulogy. “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.”

Her child Chip Carter said of her;

“Besides being a loving mother and extraordinary First Lady, my mother was a great humanitarian in her own right.”

“Her life of service and compassion was an example for all Americans. 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,” he added.

Rosalynn Carter was an active supporter of Jimmy Carter throughout his political career, campaigning on his behalf and encouraging supporters to vote for him.

After Jimmy Carter was elected president in 1976, Rosalynn Carter became the first first lady to set up an office in the East Wing and hire a full staff.

From 1971 to 1975, she worked with Betty Bumpers, the first lady of Arkansas, to promote routine vaccinations.

In 1977, she was made an honorary chair of the President’s Commission on Mental Health.

in 1980, she championed the Mental Health Systems Act, funding community mental health centers.

In 1984, her autobiography “First Lady from Plains” was published.

After leaving the White House, the Carters founded the Carter Center in 1982, a non-profit dedicated to improving lives, alleviating suffering, and advancing human rights.

Through the organization, they worked globally on initiatives including stopping Guinea worm disease, boosting agricultural production in Africa, and advocating for human rights.

Rosalynn Carter also initiated the Carter Center’s Mental Health program, to combat stigma and discrimination against mental illnesses and established the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships to promote comprehensive reporting and journalism on mental health issues.

Rosalynn Carter received numerous honors and awards for her humanitarian work, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 1999.

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter lived simply in a one-story ranch in Plains built in the 1960s. 

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