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Rosalynn Carter death: Jimmy Carter leads tributes to former first lady


Rosalynn Carter death: Jimmy Carter leads tributes to former first lady

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter in Hospice

Rosalynn Carter, the wife of former president Jimmy Carter’s wife, died at the age of 96 on Sunday.

The Carter Center announced the former first lady’s death two days after she entered hospice care at the couple’s home in Plains, Georgia. Rosalynn leaves behind her husband, four children, 22 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and a legacy of mental health advocacy.

Jimmy Carter, 99, who is also in hospice care, paid tribute to his wife in the Carter Center 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.”

The couple’s son Chip Carter said: “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.”


Rosalynn Carter dies, aged 96

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter dies, aged 96

John Bowden19 November 2023 22:21


A life of public service

Both Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter agreed later in life that she was the more political of the two, PBS reported.

She had ideas of her own, starting from when he was campaigning for a Georgia state senate seat. Ms Carter reportedly spoke to voters in line, including one mill worker who was caring for her child who was afflicted by mental illness.

“I want to know what you are going to do about mental health when you are governor,” she told her husband the following day. He vowed he would put her in charge of it. Rosalynn Carter then dedicated her lifelong efforts to improving mental health in Americans.

From 1977 to 1978, she served as the Honorary Chairperson of the President’s Commission on Mental Health. And after Mr Carter’s 1980 defeat, the couple founded the Carter Center, an institution dedicated to “human rights and the alleviation of human suffering.”

John Bowden20 November 2023 08:00


Who was Rosalynn Carter?

Eleanor Rosalynn Smith was born in Plains, Georgia on 18, August 1927. The nurse who delivered her was Lillian Carter, her future husband’s mother.

Rosalynn, the oldest child, was propelled to take on extra help around the house after her father died when she was just 13 years old. She helped take care of her siblings, sewed, and took on housekeeping chores.

Years later, she attended Georgia Southwestern College at Americus, where she met a man who would one day become president.

In 1946, the couple got married. They moved around while Jimmy Carter was in the navy, until he was forced back to his hometown of Plains to take over his family’s peanut farm. Rosalynn also started working on the farm full-time.

Once Mr Carter entered a life of public service, Rosalynn was his right hand. She helped run his many successful campaigns, as president she sat in on Cabinet meetings, and expressed an early interest in mental health advocacy.

The rest of their careers were marked by a life of public service. The pair built homes with Habitat for Humanity and founded the Carter Center, and aimed to end stigma around mental health afflictions.

John Bowden20 November 2023 06:00


Everlasting love

“She’s the girl I want to marry,” Jimmy Carter reportedly told his mother after his first date with the then 17-year-old Rosalynn Smith.

A year later, in 1946, they got married.

Mr Carter ran successful campaigns for the Georgia state senate, the Georgia governor, and eventually the presidency, all with his wife by his side.

After President Carter’s 1980 defeat, the pair dedicated their efforts to humanitarian causes, including launching the Carter Center and building Habitat for Humanity houses.

Together, they raised four children, and 22 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Earlier this year, after former President Carter entered hospice care, their grandson remarked that the couple is in the “last chapter” of their lives. “They are still here, they are still holding hands and still very much together,” he said.

Kelly Rissman20 November 2023 04:00


The last anniversary

Former President Carter celebrated their 77th wedding anniversary this summer.

“As we have looked back at their legacy, it has been really wonderful to see the outpouring of support and respect and love,” grandson Jason Carter said recently. “That word love is really the one that defines certainly their personal relationship, but also the way they approach this world.”

The pair have described their marriage as a “full partnership,” alluding to their experiences raising a family, running the peanut farm, their political career before and in the White House, and their consistent commitment to humanitarian causes.

John Bowden20 November 2023 02:00


MLK’s grandaughter memorialises ‘dear friend’

One of the tributes posted on Twitter Sunday evening after the death of Rosalynn Carter was emblematic of her family’s legacy — it came from Bernice King, granddaughter of murdered civil rights icon Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

“Her commitment to peace and tireless efforts, alongside her husband, former President #JimmyCarter, to make a positive impact on our nation and world will be remembered. Our hearts are with President Carter and the Carter family during this difficult time,” Ms King wrote in a pair of posts.

John Bowden20 November 2023 00:00


Rosalynn Carter: Advocate for Jimmy Carter and many others, always leveraging her love of politics

The Washington chattering class, often unsure what to make of outsiders, dubbed Rosalynn Carter the “Steel Magnolia” when she arrived as first lady.

A devout Baptist and mother of four, she was diminutive and outwardly shy, with a soft smile and softer Southern accent. That was the “magnolia.” She also was a force behind Jimmy Carter’s rise from peanut farmer to winner of the 1976 presidential election. That was the “steel.”

Yet that obvious, even trite moniker almost certainly undersold her role and impact across the Carters’ early life, their one White House term and their four decades afterward as global humanitarians advocating peace, democracy and the eradication of disease.

Through more than 77 years of marriage, until her death Sunday at the age of 96, Rosalynn Carter was business and political partner, best friend and closest confidant to the 39th president.

Read more:

John Bowden19 November 2023 23:00


Chris Christie is first 2024 GOP candidate to speak about Rosalynn Carter

Former New Jersey Gov Chris Christie offered compassionate praise of the former first lady on Sunday, and was the only Republican 2024 candidate to have done so when his statement hit Twitter.

“Our prayers go out to the Carter family on the passing of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. She was a role model for selfless public service & the Carter marriage was an example of a true loving partnership. Mary Pat & I pray for her, President Carter and their entire family.”

Donald Trump’s wife Melania, also a former first lady, had issued a statement but her husband’s Truth Social feed remained quiet.

John Bowden19 November 2023 22:37


More tributes from Democrats pour in

The former first lady, Rosalynn Carter, and her husband Jimmy have long held a special place of honour for Americans and particularly Democrats. The pair’s dedication to causes like Habitat for Humanity endeared them to millions of Americans.

Members of the House Democratic caucus expressed their sorrow on Twitter after news of her death broke on Sunday.

John Bowden19 November 2023 22:00


Melania Trump comments on death of fellow former first lady

Former first lady Melania Trump was among the Republicans who joined in commemorating the life of Rosalynn Carter on Sunday.

“Rosalynn Carter leaves behind a meaningful legacy not only as First Lady but as a wife and mother. We will always remember her servant’s heart and devotion to her husband, family, and country. May she rest in peace,” wrote Ms Trump.

Her husband had not posted a similar statement more than thirty minutes later.

John Bowden19 November 2023 21:38

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