Rosalynn Carter, the former first lady and steadfast confidante of President Jimmy Carter, has passed away at the age of 96. The Carter Center, founded by the couple, announced that Rosalynn died peacefully at her rural Georgia home in Plains after a prolonged battle with dementia.
President Carter paid an emotional tribute, declaring Rosalynn as his “equal partner in everything,” acknowledging her vital role in his accomplishments. He expressed the profound impact she had on his life, providing wise guidance and unwavering support. The Carters’ remarkable union lasted for more than 77 years, evolving into what they described as a “full partnership.”
Jill Biden, the current first lady, shared the news at an event in Norfolk, Virginia, praising Rosalynn Carter for her efforts on mental health, caregiving, and women’s rights. President Donald Trump also mourned her death on the Truth Social platform, recognizing her as a devoted first lady, great humanitarian, and a champion for mental health.
The Carters’ marriage was characterized by a unique partnership, with Rosalynn breaking traditional first lady roles. She participated in Cabinet meetings, addressed controversial issues, and represented her husband on foreign trips. Often referred to privately as “co-president,” her influence was substantial, and her political instincts were highly regarded.
Known as the “Steel Magnolia” for her combination of iron will and Southern charm, Rosalynn was a compassionate activist first lady. Mental health and issues affecting the elderly were her signature policy focuses. Her efforts to improve mental health coverage led her to testify before a Senate subcommittee, echoing Eleanor Roosevelt’s historic address to Congress.
After President Carter’s political career, the couple co-founded The Carter Center, continuing their humanitarian work. Rosalynn chaired the center’s annual symposium on mental health and advocated for the mentally ill and homeless. She authored books addressing caregiving challenges and mental illness, reflecting her commitment to societal well-being.
The Carters’ post-White House life was marked by global humanitarian missions, including Habitat for Humanity projects and initiatives promoting public health and democracy. Despite the challenges of travel, Rosalynn found profound satisfaction in witnessing positive changes in communities worldwide.
Rosalynn Carter’s passing leaves a void not only in the Carter family but in the collective memory of a nation that admired her strength, compassion, and dedication to making a positive impact. Her legacy as a transformative first lady, humanitarian, and partner to President Jimmy Carter will endure as an inspiration for generations to come.