Former U.S. First Lady Rosalynn Carter dies at 96

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Rosalynn Carter in Nashville, Tennessee in 2019.
Image: U.S. Department of State.

On the afternoon of November 19 local time (1910 UTC), The Carter Center announced, former First Lady of the United States Rosalynn Carter, wife of former President Jimmy Carter, died. According to the Center, "[s]he died peacefully, with family by her side" in Plains, Georgia, at home. She was 96 years old.

The Center said two days before, Rosalynn Carter was under palliative care at her residence. She had a May diagnosis of dementia.

In a statement from the Center, former President Carter said, "Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished."

"As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me," he said. The couple had a 77-year marriage and four children.

Preceding three siblings, in 1927 First Lady Carter, then Eleanor Rosalynn Smith, was born. 13-year-old Rosalynn's father died, with her mother working as a seamstress.

Carter worked on the family peanut farm of her husband's family.

Reporters nicknamed her the "Steel Magnolia". After Ronald Reagan's administration succeeded Jimmy Carter's in 1981, after one term, she promoted mental health. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the top United States honors for civilians, by Bill Clinton in 1999.

Among former U.S. presidents, Jimmy Carter is the oldest living, and several months ago announced he did not want to continue medical action.