Rosalynn Carter, former first lady and beloved wife of former President Jimmy Carter, died at the age of 96. For 77 years, the former first lady and former President Jimmy Carter were married. Rosalynn Carter and Jimmy Carter have four children, 11 grandchildren, and 14 great grandchildren.
“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” Jimmy Carter remarked, according to a Carter Center release. “She provided me with sound advice and encouragement when I needed it.” “As long as Rosalynn was alive, I knew someone loved and supported me.”
Rosalynn Carter was Jimmy Carter’s staunchest supporter throughout his political career. She campaigned aggressively for him, rousing fans and admitting once that she was more determined to win than he was.
Rosalynn Carter made the post of first lady a full-time profession after her husband was elected president in 1976.
She was the first presidential spouse to open an East Wing office and recruit a full-time staff. Many people remembered Rosalynn Carter lugging a briefcase full of paperwork to the workplace every day.
Kate Anderson Brower, author of “First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies,” told Reuters in 2018 that she was a trusted adviser to the president, a participant in global and domestic issues, and frequently set up weekly meetings with Jimmy Carter in the Oval Office.
Rosalynn Carter Championed Mental Health
Carter visited the world, pushing her personal platform of better mental health care as well as her husband’s stand on human rights. She advocated for the Equal Rights Amendment, which would have guaranteed women and men legal gender equality.
Former coworkers, acquaintances, and strangers characterized her as sincere, friendly, and selfless. She embodied the modern working mom and wife for much of her life.
Carter, according to Brower, was more concerned with helping people than with material goods.
“I think she will be remembered as a strong, tough, disciplined woman who also is very kind and had a lot of empathy for other people,” Brower said in a statement to Reuters.
Carter, 96, began hospice care on Friday after learning she had dementia in May.
After a series of short hospital hospitalizations, Jimmy Carter started hospice care in February, and their grandson, Jason Carter, informed Reuters in September that his grandparents were nearing the end of their lives.
“They’re all together. They have returned home. They’re in love, and I don’t think anyone deserves anything more. “I mean, it’s just the right situation for them at this point in their lives,” Jason Carter remarked in September.
The Carters both grew up in Plains, a tiny town.
Married Jimmy Carter in 1946
Rosalynn Carter was the eldest of four children who had to care for her younger siblings and help with housework after her father died when she was 13 years old. Despite the family’s financial difficulties, Carter completed high school and went on to attend Georgia Southwestern College.
In 1945, she began dating Jimmy Carter, who had recently returned from the United States Navy. The pair married in 1946.
Jimmy Carter’s Navy career kept the family on the go. Their three kids were born at various naval bases in Virginia, Hawaii, and Connecticut. Their daughter was born in Plains later on.
During her husband’s presidency, the former first lady was interested about finding solutions to challenges that affect the elderly, and she convened groups for the White House round-table conversation on aging.
Carter was inspired to promote mental health reform after witnessing a distant cousin suffer from mental illness as a child, according to Kathy Cade, the first lady’s special projects director.
Rosalynn Carter discovered how public programs for those with mental illnesses were abysmal when Jimmy Carter ran for governor of Georgia, leaving families unable to get care.
Carter was named honorary chair of the President’s Commission on Mental Health in 1977. Carter was able to continue her work as Georgia’s first lady in ending the state’s mental health problem.
In 1980, she spearheaded efforts to pass the Mental Health Systems Act, which gives subsidies to community mental health institutions.
During her husband’s tenure as Georgia governor and president, Carter also advocated for immunization of youngsters against preventable diseases.
She collaborated with Betty Bumpers, Arkansas’s first lady from 1971 to 1975, to promote vaccines as a standard health practice. In 1981, 95% of youngsters starting school had received measles and other illnesses vaccinations.
After leaving the White House, the Carters returned to Plains and continued to make an impact.
In 1982, they established the Carter Center, a non-profit organization whose initiatives aim to improve the quality of life, alleviate suffering, and advance human rights.
The former president and first wife have traversed the world with the Carter Center to combat Guinea worm disease, enhance agricultural productivity in Africa, and campaign for human rights.
Carter established the Carter Center’s Mental Health initiative to combat stigma and discrimination against persons suffering from mental diseases.
She also launched the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism to encourage in-depth reporting on mental health.