Rosalynn Carter, Former First Lady and Influential Humanitarian, Passes Away at 96
Former first lady Rosalynn Carter, known for her influential role as the closest adviser to President Jimmy Carter during his presidency and their subsequent four decades as global humanitarians, has passed away at the age of 96. The Carter Center announced her peaceful passing on Sunday, after a long battle with dementia and declining health.
President Carter, in a statement, reflected on their partnership, saying, “Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished. She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me.”
World leaders, including President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, paid tribute to the Carters, highlighting their grace, integrity, and incredible 77-year partnership. Rosalynn’s influence extended beyond the traditional role of first lady, as she sat in on Cabinet meetings, spoke out on controversial issues, and represented her husband on foreign trips. Her behind-the-scenes impact was so significant that some presidential aides referred to her as “co-president.”
Rosalynn Carter was known for her fierce loyalty, compassion, and political astuteness, earning her the nickname “the Steel Magnolia” from Washington reporters. She was an activist first lady, advocating for mental health, caregiving, and women’s rights. Throughout her husband’s political career, she focused on mental health and problems of the elderly as her signature policy emphasis.
Her influence extended to the style of the Carter White House, where she and President Carter chose to forgo hard liquor at public functions, opting for U.S. wine instead. Their social events were marked by square dancing and picnics, reflecting their down-to-earth approach to public life.
Rosalynn Carter’s impact and influence will be remembered not only for her role as first lady, but for her tireless advocacy and humanitarian work alongside President Carter. Her legacy as a compassionate and politically astute leader will continue to inspire generations to come.