Rosalynn Carter was the driving force behind her husband of over seven decades. Sadly, this incredible lady, who devoted a great part of her life raising awareness about mental illness and helping those who struggled with it, passed away at the age of 96 following a battle with dementia, the Carter Center reported.
Rosalynn and former president Jimmy Carter celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary and held the title of the longest-married presidential couple.
The Carters tied the knot on July 7, 1946, in their hometown of Plains, Georgia, where they celebrated the special milestone.
They were by each other’s side through thick and thin.
“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” former president Jimmy Carter said in the statement. “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.”
During his presidency from 1977 to 1981, Jimmy Carter told aides, “Rosalynn is my best friend… the perfect extension of me, probably the most influential person in my life.”
Roselynn wasn’t just a First Lady, but she was her husband’s closest advisor and stood by his side supporting every decision he made as a head of the country.
After leaving the White House, the Carters returned to live in their family house in Plains, Georgia. The house, which according to Zillow is valued at $209,996, was built in 1961, when the Carters welcomed their fourth child in their lives and needed a bigger place. The couple always led a quite and a very simple life.
During the past decade, both Rosalynn and Jimmy experienced health scares.
When he turned 90 back in 2015, Jimmy battled life-threatening cancer, but his wife was by his side to witness his miraculous recovery. Rosalynn had undergone a major surgery and had a part of her colon removed when she was 90. Due to her advanced age, the family was told that the procedure would be a risky one, but Jimmy stayed with her at the hospital throughout the night and prayed for her.
In the morning, Rosalynn woke up and Jimmy called his grandson Jason to share with him the great news.
“It was 6 a.m. He said he wanted to go home and spend the rest of his time with her,” Jason Carter tells the Washington Post. “That was the moment he truly retired; he said no more executive meetings at the Carter Center. He just wanted to be with her.”
As their health declined, Rosalynn and Jimmy were each other’s caretakers and depended on each other.
Following her surgery, Jimmy would bring her treats and rub her toes.
“He actually was a very good nurse,” a family friend in Plains, Jill Stuckey, said.
When Jimmy entered hospice in February 2023, he terminated medical treatment at the hospital because his wife found it hard to be separated from him, as reported by the Washington Post.
Towards the end, the couple spent their days in their living room, sharing blueberries in the morning and watching Law and Order at night.
The last time Rosalynn was seen in public was right before Jimmy’s 99th birthday, at the annual Plains Peanut Festival in their hometown. She was together with her husband inside a car and waved to the crowd.
Earlier this year, the Carter family revealed that Rosalynn was diagnosed with dementia. Shortly after, she entered hospice and spent the last days of her life surrounded by family and her loving husband. She barely walked, with a help of a walker, and her health declined significantly.
“They were at peace with what was coming,” said Andrew Young, the former Atlanta mayor and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who visited them in their home earlier this year.
“Time just caught up with her,” her niece, Kim Fuller, told the Washington Post. “She was getting more and more weak.”
But no matter how weak and frail they were, Rosalynn and Jimmy never stopped holding hands.
“It’s hard to imagine one without the other,” said Stuckey, who spent many days with the two.
Young recalled his last visit of the Carters’ home and said the three friends prayed together. “They seemed so happy to be with each other,” he said, adding that Rosalynn was quiet, while Jimmy just smiled.
We can’t even imagine how sad and heartbroken Jimmy is now that his wife of 77 years is no longer by his side.
Our thoughts and prayers go to him and his family during these times of grief.
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Love and Peace