Former US First Lady Rosalynn Carter, recognized by President Jimmy Carter as “an extension of myself,” passed away at the age of 96, as confirmed by the Carter Center. A prominent figure throughout her husband’s presidency, Rosalynn was a steadfast advocate for mental health causes, leaving an indelible mark on American history.
Despite her initially unassuming demeanor, often referred to as “the Steel Magnolia” by Washington reporters, Rosalynn Carter became a powerful force for change. The Carter Center’s statement revealed that she peacefully departed in her home in Plains, Georgia, surrounded by her family.
President Jimmy Carter, who served from 1977 to 1981, expressed, “Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished.” In May, it was disclosed that she battled dementia but continued to reside at home. Former President Carter’s decision to opt for hospice care in February marked a poignant chapter in their enduring love story.
Rosalynn Carter’s influence extended far beyond the White House years. A dedicated activist and eloquent speaker, she championed the cause of mental health throughout her life. Her commitment to advocacy persisted, driven not by personal connection but by a deep-seated belief in the necessity of such efforts.
In 1977, Rosalynn transitioned from a relatively unknown figure in Georgia to a prominent national figure in Washington. Her transformation from an observer to an active participant in cabinet meetings and political discussions underscored her integral role as the president’s closest adviser.
Her involvement in campaigns extended to the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, emphasizing her commitment to ensuring equal treatment for women under the law. Additionally, during the hostage crisis in Tehran, Rosalynn played a crucial role in supporting her husband’s re-election bid, demonstrating resilience and determination.
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden praised Rosalynn Carter for her trailblazing efforts, noting her dedication to equal rights, mental health, and support for caregivers. The impact of her legacy is echoed by former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, who collectively lauded her contributions to the nation.
In commemorating Rosalynn Carter, we honor a remarkable woman who not only stood by a president but also stood up for the well-being and rights of the American people. Her legacy serves as an enduring testament to the power of advocacy, resilience, and unwavering dedication to making a positive impact on society.