Rosalynn Carter, Longest-Living First Lady and Passionate Mental Health Advocate, Dies at 96
A Lifelong Partner Who Championed Noble Causes
Rosalynn Carter obituary: Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, who tirelessly championed mental health, caregiving, and equal rights during and after her White House years, passed away peacefully on November 19, 2023 at the age of 96. She died at home in Plains, Georgia with family by her side, closing a remarkable life that spanned nearly a century.
Mrs. Carter served as First Lady from 1977 to 1981 during the administration of her husband, President Jimmy Carter. She was a trusted advisor to the President and a vigorous crusader for the causes she held dear. The Carter Center, which she co-founded with her husband after leaving the White House, has improved lives around the world by resolving conflict, advancing democracy and human rights, and preventing disease.
“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” President Carter, now age 99, said in a statement. “I always knew somebody loved and supported me.”
A Lifelong Partnership And Grand Legacy – Rosalynn Carter obituary
The Carters were married for 77 years, making theirs the longest presidential marriage in American history. They met in Plains when Rosalynn was 12 and Jimmy was 13. Mrs. Carter attributed their lifelong bond to “mutual respect and being good friends.” She once said, “We understand one another,” while President Carter called her the most important person in his life.
Together they built an enduring legacy of service. In addition to her White House years and The Carter Center, Mrs. Carter will be remembered for championing equitable rights and opportunities for women, reforming the caregiving system in America, and destigmatizing mental illness. She served on the first U.S. Presidential Commission on Mental Health and regularly testified before Congress.
“Besides being a loving mother and extraordinary First Lady, my mother was a great humanitarian in her own right,” said the couple’s son Chip Carter. “Her life of service and compassion was an example for all Americans.”
A Mother and Grandmother, Mourned By Family
Mrs. Carter is survived by her four children, Jack, Chip, Jeff, and Amy, 11 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren. She was also stepmother to President Carter’s three sons from his first marriage.
The family has planned memorial events and funeral services for Mrs. Carter, details of which will be announced soon. Condolences can be shared via an online guest book on the tribute website http://www.rosalynncartertribute.org.
“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 because she championed these issues,” Chip Carter said.
An Enduring Legacy of Compassion and Service
Rosalynn Carter lived nearly a century, and she filled those years with compassion, grit, grace, and good works. As First Lady, she broke new ground while still holding on to family values and her small-town roots. Her decades of work to educate people about mental illness and expand caregiving resources changed lives across America. President Carter lost his closest confidante and beloved wife of over three quarters of a century. Her death marks the end of an era, but her legacy lives on through the countless people she helped uplift.