FORMER First Lady Rosalynn Carter, wife of 39th President Jimmy Carter, has died at age 96 following a battle with dementia.
The 39th First Lady’s death comes after she was diagnosed with dementia on May 30 as her husband, former President Carter, 99, received hospice care at their Georgia home.
In February, The Carter Center revealed that the former president decided to spend the remainder of his days at home alongside his family.
He was the first to pay tribute in the statement of the former First Lady’s death from The Carter Center.
“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” the oldest living former President of the United States said.
“She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me.”
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The couple’s grandson, Josh Carter, revealed to The New York Times in late August that the former president was still himself despite his ailing health.
“He’s still opinionated, he’s still strong-willed, he’s still him. And that’s great to see,” Josh told the outlet.
Josh’s father, Chip, also wrote a heartfelt message in The Carter Center’s statement.
“Besides being a loving mother and extraordinary First Lady, my mother was a great humanitarian in her own right,” Chip said.
“Her life of service and compassion was an example for all Americans.”
The statement released further details on Rosalynn’s death, noting that she died “peacefully, with family by her side” on November 19 at around 2:10 pm at the couple’s Georgia home.
The center praised Rosalynn as “a passionate champion of mental health, caregiving, and women’s rights.”
“She is survived by her children — Jack, Chip, Jeff, and Amy — and 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. A grandson died in 2015,” it added.
Born in Plains, Georgia, Rosalynn was the eldest of four children of Wilburn and Allethea Smith.
The family grew up in a small town and nurtured strong ties to family and dedication to church and community.
Rosalynn’s father died of leukemia when she was 13 years old, and became a homemaker to help support her mother and siblings, helping with the sewing and housekeeping.
In 1945, Rosalynn began dating Jimmy Carter, who was home from the US Naval Academy during her first year at Georgia Southwestern College in Americus, Georgia.
Their romance quickly progressed, and they married a year later.
CARTER’S TENURE IN THE WHITE HOUSE
Rosalynn ventured into politics as an essential member of her husband’s 1970 bid for the governorship of Georgia.
When Carter announced his plans to run for the White House, Rosalynn campaigned independently on his behalf in 41 states.
He won the 1976 presidential election by narrowly defeating incumbent Republican president Gerald Ford.
During his one term in the White House, Carter’s budgetary policies centered on taming inflation by reducing deficits and government spending.
His administration enacted a national energy policy designed for long-term energy conservation during the US energy crisis in the 1970s.
Carter’s administration created the Department of Education to increase human and social services and bolstered the Social Security system.
Meanwhile, Rosalynn managed routine duties and special projects in her office in the East Wing and was a leading advocate for numerous causes, including mental health research.
She frequently attended cabinet meetings and major briefings and served as the president’s personal emissary to Latin American countries.
After his one-term tenure, the Carters worked on solo issues, with Rosalynn focusing on mental health and women and Carter promoting and expanding human rights through The Carter Center, founded in 1982.
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