Former US First Lady Rosalynn Carter, wife of ex-President Jimmy Carter, passed away at the age of 96, as confirmed by The Carter Center.
She peacefully departed in the company of her family after spending time in a hospice care home in Georgia, where she had been with her husband, who had been in hospice care since February. Diagnosed with dementia in May, Mrs. Carter, born Eleanor Rosalynn Smith on August 18, 1927, and President Carter celebrated their 77th wedding anniversary in July.
President Carter expressed, “Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” noting her wise guidance and unwavering support.
The couple, known as the longest-married first couple, had four children, and their son, Chip, remembered her as a loving mother, extraordinary first lady, and a significant humanitarian. Mrs. Carter’s impact extended beyond her family, leaving a lasting influence on mental health awareness.
During President Carter’s political career, Mrs. Carter focused on raising awareness about mental health, working to reduce stigma.
As first lady of Georgia and later as US First Lady, she played a crucial role in the President’s Commission on Mental Health, contributing to the passage of a 1980 act that funded local mental health centers.
Post-Washington, the Carters founded the Carter Center in 1982, continuing advocacy for mental health, childhood immunization, and humanitarian causes.
Their commitment to philanthropy extended to Habitat For Humanity, where they helped build homes for families in need. Their humanitarian efforts were recognized in 2002 when President Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
In a 2013 interview, Mrs. Carter expressed hope for their legacy to endure, emphasizing the Carter Center’s mission of waging peace, fighting disease, and building hope, particularly in the realm of mental health issues.