HomeTrending NewsRosalynn Carter, transformative former first lady and mental health advocate, dies

Rosalynn Carter, transformative former first lady and mental health advocate, dies

On October 4, 2014, at Georgia Southwestern University in Americus, Georgia, former first lady Rosalynn Carter and her husband, former President Jimmy Carter, celebrate the former president’s 90th birthday by sharing a birthday cake. Braunen Camp

According to the Carter Center, Rosalynn Carter, the late wife of former President Jimmy Carter and a devoted humanitarian and mental health champion, passed away on Sunday at her Plains, Georgia, home while surrounded by her family. At ninety-six, she lived.

  • Rosalynn Carter was placed in hospice care, the Carter Center reported on Friday. Her family announced her dementia diagnosis earlier this year. Jimmy Carter, 99, has been receiving care from hospice since February.
  • The former president stated in a statement, “Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished.” “When I needed it, she offered me sage advice and support. I always knew I had love and support from someone as long as Rosalynn was alive.”
  • The former first lady’s “hope, warmth, and optimism” were honored by President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden in a joint statement that was made public on Sunday. They applauded Carter’s stance on mental health and other problems, as well as her support of equal rights. The White House statement said that Rosalynn Carter’s life and legacy had made innumerable people’s lives “better, fuller, and brighter.”
  • In addition, Rosalynn Carter received praise on Sunday from former first lady Laura Bush and former president George W. Bush, who described her as “a woman of dignity and strength.”
  • “President Carter had no better ally, and their collaboration was a magnificent example of faithfulness and dedication. Her efforts to de-stigmatize mental health have left a significant impact. We offer our sympathies to President Carter and his family together with our fellow Americans,” the two said in a written statement.
  • From 1977 until 1981, Rosalynn Carter served as first lady. The media labeled her the “Steel Magnolia” because of the harshness that concealed the tender exterior that she wore. She served as her husband’s primary political advisor throughout Jimmy Carter’s tenure in public service. By extending the job beyond hostess responsibilities, she also modernized and elevated the first lady position.
  • The majority of her life was spent in Plains, the Carters’ birthplace, and she was actively involved in humanitarian work via the Carter Center, an institution she and her husband formed in Atlanta after leaving the White House.

On April 25, 2013, near Dallas, the George W. Bush Presidential Center opened its doors in the presence of then-first lady Michelle Obama and previous first ladies Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, Barbara Bush, and Rosalynn Carter.

Jimmy Carter and a youthful romance

  • In Plains, a little rural hamlet with fewer than a thousand residents, where Eleanor Rosalynn Smith was born in 1927, her life revolved on the church and her education.
  • Carter, who grew up in the Great Depression, often claimed that since so few people in her immediate environment were wealthy, she was unaware that her family was impoverished.
  • Her father farmed and also owned the first car dealership in the county. As the eldest of four siblings, Carter assumed responsibility for her father’s care after his death at the age of thirteen from cancer.
  • Kathy Cade, a senior official at the Carter Center who collaborated with Carter in the White House, said, “She came from humble roots.” “She was really a woman of almost the late 19th century in terms of how life was organized in the rural South at the time.”
  • She saw a picture of Jimmy, the elder brother of her good friend Ruth Carter, who she had met but didn’t know well, when she was a youngster.
  • First Women author Kate Anderson Brower stated, “When Rosalynn saw a picture of Jimmy on her best friend’s wall, she thought he was the most handsome man she’d ever seen in her life.” “And she asked Ruth if she could take his photo home.”
  • When they went on their first date in 1945, he was enrolled at the U.S. Naval Academy and she was a student at Georgia Southwestern College. The next year they were married, beginning a union that would last for almost 75 years.
  • They returned to Plains and assumed control of the family’s peanut plantation in Sumter County upon the death of Jimmy Carter’s father in 1953. When Jimmy Carter announced his candidacy for Georgia’s state Senate in 1962, that corporate alliance turned into a political one. Rosalynn Carter became the first lady of Georgia when husband was elected governor in 1970.
  • However, Cade said that upon her arrival to the governor’s residence, she “felt overwhelmed” by her new job and the spotlight.
  • “In the beginning it was very stressful, but she quickly adapted,” said Cade. “She realized that her faith was going to help her deal with the stresses of this very new and challenging situation.”
  • Carter was a supporter of her spouse and the need for mental health services.
  • Carter spent almost two years touring the nation as a presidential candidate after her husband announced his intention to run. Despite her modest nature and anxiety while speaking in front of groups of people, Brower claims that she came alive on the campaign trail and worked “tirelessly” to present her husband, who was unknown outside of Georgia, to the nation.
  • “She would look for the tallest antenna in any town and she would head there because that was the TV or radio station,” Brower said. “And she would go there with a list of questions she wanted them to ask her.”
  • Following the final announcement of his victory in the 1976 Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter’s hug with Rosalynn
  • As first lady, Carter ushered in a new era after her husband’s election to the presidency.
  • She testified before Congress as just the second first lady and attended Cabinet sessions. As shown by the fact that she was the first spouse of a president to regularly bring a briefcase to work, Brower said she approached the position with professionalism.
  • “I think Rosalynn was a feminist and somebody who wanted to be a true partner to her husband,” said Brower. “And she didn’t see any reason why she shouldn’t be allowed to do that.”
  • Carter prioritized mental health while in the White House. She became passionate about it years ago after hearing from Georgians who had relatives who were experiencing mental health issues while on the campaign trail.
  • Carter was worried about the lack of community-based mental health treatments available in Georgia at the time, particularly for children. State resources included hospitals and other establishments with a history of mistreating patients.
  • Carter, the first lady of Georgia, pushed her husband to form a committee on mental health under her leadership, and the group came up with a ground-breaking proposal to move treatment from major facilities to community centers.

Message from the Sponsor

  • “She really began the effort in this country to modernize mental health care,” Cade said. “And the mental health care system that we have today in many ways reflects her 50 years of advocacy.”
  • Carter was a pioneer in the fight to lessen the stigma associated with mental illness and often referred to mental health services as “a basic human right” in his speeches. President Carter’s wife’s lobbying in the United States and across the world is recognized, at least in part, for several accomplishments, including the signing of the Mental Health Systems Act in 1980 that provided funding for community mental health clinics.

Following the White House

  • The Carters referred to their move back to Plains as a “involuntary retirement” after Jimmy Carter lost his reelection campaign in 1980; Rosalynn Carter may have found this shift more challenging than her husband.
  • “She fiercely believed that her husband was the best person to be president of the United States,” Cade said. “She really believed that there was still work to be done.”
  • Carter said to NPR in 1987 that she was able to forget about the heartbreaking loss by working on their Plains home.
  • “We had no idea what we would do with the rest of our lives. We had to get the home in order all of a sudden,” she said. “We’d been gone 10 years from home.”
  • The former president and first lady established the Carter Center shortly after, concentrating on many causes such as monitoring elections globally and trying to almost completely eliminate Guinea worm disease in several regions of Asia and Africa.
  • In 1999, President Bill Clinton bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the Carters, stating that they had accomplished “more good things for more people in more places than any other couple on the face of the Earth.”
  • After two years of marriage, the Carters celebrated their 75th anniversary, making them the longest-married presidential couple in 2019. They developed a lengthy list of common interests and attempted a lot of new activities together, including tennis, bird watching, turkey hunting,


  • Jimmy Carter said in 2015 that marrying Rosa was the finest thing he had ever done.
  • Four children, twelve grandkids, and fourteen great-grandchildren were born to Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter.
  • The former first lady once said, “I would like for people to think I took advantage of the opportunities I had and did the best I could,” when asked how she wanted to be remembered.

Following their April 2021 meeting with former President Jimmy Carter, Rosalynn Carter ushers President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden out.

Written by : Reshraman




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