Former US first lady Rosalynn Carter, whom President Jimmy Carter called “an extension of myself” due to her prominent role in his administration, died yesterday at the age of 96. In May 2023, the Carter family announced that she was suffering from dementia, but that she continued to live happily in the couple’s home in Plains, Georgia.
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter have been the longest-married presidential couple, having married in 1946, when he was 21 and she was 18. In total, 77 years. After finishing his term in 1981, Carter has become the former president who has survived the longest after leading the Government. After her husband was no longer president, Rosalynn also played a key role in her activities at the nonprofit Carter Center and the charity Habitat for Humanity.
Modest and calm
Before coming to Washington she was seen as a modest and quiet person, but she became an eloquent speaker and activist. Her passion, which extended far beyond her years in the White House, focused on the mentally ill, not out of a personal connection but out of a strong conviction that they needed to be defended.
Before Jimmy Carter was elected president in 1976, Roslynn was largely unknown outside Georgia, where her husband had been a peanut farmer turned governor. A Democrat, she served a four-year term and lost re-election in 1980 to Ronald Reagan, a former Republican governor of California and Hollywood actor.
Jimmy Carter turned 99 last September in a very delicate state of health and in palliative care at home for seven months. The 2002 Nobel Peace Prize winner underwent cancer treatment in 2015 after a small mass was removed from his liver. The tumor spread to his brain, where they found four malignant melanomas.