Sad news from Plains, Georgia, where former first lady Rosalynn Carter died Sunday at age 96. The announcement was made by the Carter Center: “Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, a passionate champion of mental health, caregiving, and women’s rights, passed away Sunday, Nov. 19, at 2:10 p.m. at her home in Plains, Georgia, at the age of 96. She died peacefully, with family by her side.”
Former president Jimmy Carter, 99, paid tribute to his wife of 77 years, 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.”
Mrs. Carter was diagnosed with dementia earlier this year and entered hospice care on Friday; the former president has himself been in hospice care since February.
Born Eleanor Rosalynn Smith on August 18, 1927, she attended Georgia Southwestern College and married Jimmy Carter in July of 1945, following his graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy. She was a tireless campaigner for her husband, who was elected as the 39th president of the United States in 1976. As first lady, she focused her efforts on helping older adults break age barriers, creating opportunities for individuals with disabilities, and improving treatment options for those dealing with mental health conditions.
Mrs. Carter is survived by her husband, four children, 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Her son, Chip, said of his mother, “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.”
Tributes to Rosalynn Carter can be made at https://www.rosalynncartertribute.org/.