Rosalynn Carter, the wife of former US President Jimmy Carter, died at her home in Georgia on Sunday at the age of 96, according to a statement from the Carter Center. On Friday she entered hospice care.
“Rosalynn has been my equal partner in everything I have ever achieved,” her husband said in a statement. “She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew someone loved and supported me.”
Mrs. Carter (née Smith) married Jimmy Carter in 1946. She served as First Lady of the United States from January 1977 to January 1981. An official memorial page has been set up in her memory RosalynnCarterTribute.org.
She was a lifelong advocate for mental health, focusing on the issue during her husband’s governorship of Georgia in 1970, throughout his presidency and beyond.
“My mother was not only a loving mother and exceptional first lady, but also a great humanitarian in her own right,” her son Chip said in a statement. “Her life of service and compassion set an example for all Americans. She will be sorely missed not only by our family, but also by the many people who now have better mental health care and access to care resources.”
In her first interview as first lady, Carter described what she wanted to see. “So that every person who needs mental health care can receive it close to home and the stigma of mental health care is removed so that people have the freedom to talk about it and seek help.” It was taboo for so long, admitting that you had a mental health problem.”
Carter served as honorary chairman of the President’s Commission on Mental Health and testified before a Senate committee on behalf of the Mental Health Systems Act, signed into law by President Carter in October 1980.
She and her husband have also been extremely active with Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization known for building homes in the United States and abroad.
In 1999, President Bill Clinton awarded the Carters the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor the country’s government can bestow, for their service to the country and humanitarian efforts.
One of Mr. and Mrs. Carter’s last major public appearances was at the state funeral of former President George HW Bush in December 2018.
Ms. Carter’s health deteriorated in recent years. The Carters revealed it was her In May 2023 I was diagnosed with dementia.
According to Jason Carter, her grandson and chairman of the Carter Center’s board of trustees, the former first couple were admitted to hospice care together at their home in Georgia earlier this year.
Mrs. Carter is survived by her husband, children and grandchildren. The Carters celebrated their 77th wedding anniversary in July and were the longest-married presidential couple in history.