Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter dies at age 96

November 19, 2023

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, wife of 39th President Jimmy Carter, passed away Sunday at the couple’s home in Plains, Georgia.

In May, The Carter Center said in a statement that the former First Lady was suffering from dementia.  

Born August 18, 1927, Mrs. Carter has been “the nation’s leading mental health advocate for much of her life,” according to the Carter Center, which went on to say that since her time as First Lady of Georgia through her years in the White House and later at the Carter Center, she has “urged improved access to care and decreased stigma about issues surrounding mental health.”

The announcement about Mrs. Carter’s condition came a little more than two months after the Carter Center had announced that 99-year-old President Carter had entered hospice care at the couple’s Plains, Georgia home.

The former First Lady also entered hospice care last week.

In 1984, the couple joined Habitat for Humanity, an organization founded in 1976 that in its first 40 years built more than 70,000 new homes for those in need and rehabbed or repaired another 100,000 homes through its disaster response and recovery efforts.

As volunteers in what became known as the Carter Work Project, the former President and First Lady worked on job sites in 14 countries alongside more than 100,000 amateur builders. They hammered on townhomes in Chicago’s West Side, one-story ranchers in South Dakota’s Cheyenne River Indian Reservation and vacant rowhouses in Baltimore; outside the US, the couple volunteered on construction projects in Central America and the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. All told, Carter and his wife built, renovated or repaired more than 4,390 homes.

“As the founder of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers, Mrs. Carter often noted that there are only four kinds of people in this world: those who have been caregivers; those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers,” said the Carter Center. “The universality of caregiving is clear in our family, and we are experiencing the joy and the challenges of this journey. We do not expect to comment further and ask for understanding for our family and for everyone across the country serving in a caregiver role.”

Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter had been married more than 77 years. 

The former First Couple made a rare and final public appearance in their Georgia hometown on Saturday, September 23, attending the Plains Peanut Festival.

Mrs. Carter is survived by former President Carter, four children and a combined 22 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

PHOTO: Rosaynn & Jimmy Carter receive Presidential Medal of Freedom from Pres. Clinton, 1999

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