Rosalynn Carter, First Lady + Wife of Jimmy Carter, Dead at 96
Rosalynn Carter, former First Lady and wife to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, has died, according to a statement issued by the Carter Center on Sunday (Nov. 19.) She was 96 years old.
Her death comes one day after new broke that she was entering hospice care. She joined her husband's care regiment, as the former President, who turned 99 this October, has been in hospice care since February. The couple were both receiving palliative care at their home in Plains, Ga. at the time of Mrs. Carter's death. She also announced a dementia diagnosis in May.
The Carters enjoyed the longest marriage in U.S. presidential history, with a union spanning 77 years. They married on July 7, 1946, when she was a few weeks shy of turning 19 years old.
Mrs. Carter played an active role in her husband's career from the outset, beginning when Carter decided to leave his Navy career and run the family business after his father died. According to the Washington Post, she was a key player in his political career from the beginning, too. When Carter ran for a Georgia state Senate seat in 1962, Mrs. Carter was in charge of all campaign correspondence. They would continue to act as a team as he worked his way up the political ladder.
Carter served as the 39th President of the United States between 1977-1981. During his oval office tenure and beyond, Mrs. Carter was a champion for the causes closest to her heart, including elder care, mental health, the Equal Rights Amendment and feminism. After he left office, Carter devoted much of the rest of his life to charity work. He and his wife were avid, decades-long supporters of Habitat for Humanity, a humanitarian project that helps provide affordable housing for qualifying low-income individuals and families.
Longtime Habitat supporters Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood stepped in as the hosts for the 2023 Carter Work Project, which focused on creating affordable homes in Charlotte, N.C. This year marked the first time the Carters hadn't personally attended a Work Project since 1984.
Mrs. Carter is survived by her husband, who remains at their home under hospice care, as well as four children: Sons John W. "Jack" Carter, James E. "Chip" Carter III and Donnel J. "Jeff" Carter, and daughter Amy Lynn Carter. She is also survived by dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A statement on the Carter Center's website requests that anyone wishing to send a remembrance for Mrs. Carter should, in lieu of flowers, consider donating to the Carter Center's Mental Health Program or the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers.
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