It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Rosalynn Carter, the beloved wife of the 39th president Jimmy Carter, at their Georgia home. Rosalynn Carter, a dedicated advocate for mental health and a passionate social justice activist, leaves behind a remarkable legacy that transcends her role as the first lady.
Rosalynn Carter, born Eleanor Rosalynn Smith in August 1927, dedicated her life to supporting her husband’s political career and making a difference in the world. Together, the couple resided in the same Plains one-story residence since before Jimmy Carter was elected a Georgia state senator in 1962.
In recent months, both Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter entered hospice care at home. While Jimmy has been undergoing end-of-life treatment since February, Rosalynn’s health declined due to dementia, a condition she was diagnosed with in May. Despite the challenges they faced, their enduring love and commitment to each other served as an inspiration to us all.
Throughout her life, Rosalynn Carter was a steadfast champion for mental health awareness. She founded the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers in 1987, providing valuable support and resources for caregivers. The Carter Center, a human rights non-profit established by the couple, recognized her immense contribution to the field of mental health and her tireless efforts to combat stigma.
“We recognize, as she did more than half a century ago, that stigma is often a barrier that keeps individuals and their families from seeking and getting much-needed support,” the Carter Center said in a statement earlier this year. They expressed hope that by sharing their family’s news, important conversations about mental health would be fostered across the nation.
Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter were also devoted supporters of Habitat for Humanity. Under the banner of the Carter Work Project, named in their honor, they raised awareness and funds for the organization. They were not afraid to get their hands dirty, frequently joining construction projects themselves. Their dedication to improving the lives of others truly embodied the spirit of service.
Despite their public and influential roles, the Carters remained grounded and true to their roots. They met during Jimmy’s time at the US naval academy in Maryland during World War II when their families were already acquainted. They married in 1946 and worked together on the Carter family’s peanut farm before Jimmy’s political career began.
Their love and partnership endured for an astonishing 75 years, celebrating their milestone 75th wedding anniversary in 2021. Together, they raised four children – Jack, Chip, James, and Amy. While their sons were adults when Jimmy entered the presidency, their youngest daughter Amy, aged nine at the time, captured the nation’s attention and became one of the most famous child residents in the history of the White House.