‘Steel magnolia’ | Tributes pour in for Rosalynn Carter

Rosalynn Carter died Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023, at the age of 96 in Plains, Georgia.
Published: Nov. 19, 2023 at 3:47 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 19, 2023 at 10:14 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Tributes from around the world immediately began pouring in after Sunday’s news that Rosalynn Carter had died at her and former President Jimmy Carter’s home in Plains, Georgia.

Her death came only days after The Carter Center in Atlanta announced she had entered hospice care.

In late May, the Carter Center announced Mrs. Carter was experiencing dementia.

“A proud native Georgian, she had an indelible impact on our nation and our state and nation as a First Lady to both,” Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said. “Working alongside her husband, she championed mental health services and promoted the state she loved across the globe. Their marriage, spanning 77 years, stands as a testament to their enduring partnership. Like that marriage, her achievements will stand the test of time and continue to be celebrated by those who knew her best.”

“More than 96 years ago a First Lady was born years ahead of her time who urged us to take our mental health seriously,” said Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens. “She was Rosalynn Carter, and sadly she has passed away. Mrs. Carter worked side by side with her husband, former President Jimmy Carter, to make life better for people around the world.

“She never stopped advocating for mental health or the Equal Rights Amendment,” Dickens said. “She was an activist, author and humanitarian, traveled internationally as her husband’s envoy and was the model for the modern day First Lady. The city of Atlanta joins all of Georgia—and mourners around the world—as we honor the memory of First Lady Rosalynn Carter.”

“Rosalynn Carter’s contributions to Georgia, the nation and to humanity, are unparalleled. She has lived an exceptional life of service, whether as the nation’s first lady, at home in Plains or fighting Guinea worm in Africa. Her years of activism around Habitat for Humanity, her efforts to raise awareness about mental health, and her unwavering advocacy for women and children cement her legacy as one of our most consequential, accomplished and historic first ladies of all time. Our prayers are with the former president and the Carter family during this difficult time,” Hank Johnson, who represents Georgia’s Fourth District said.

In a statement, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America extended its deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies to Rosalynn’s family.

“Mrs. Carter’s work to heighten understanding and reduce stigma surrounding brain-related health issues, improve access to care, and connect caregivers with support changed many people’s lives for the better. The public announcement that Mrs. Carter was living with dementia by her family last May helped raise dementia awareness and remind the millions of American families affected by dementia-related illnesses that they are not alone,” the foundation said. “We wish her family, friends, and all those who were touched by her kindness and compassion peace and comfort during this difficult time.”

On Oct. 17, 2019, having married 26,765 days, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter became the longest-married presidential couple in history (George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush previously held the record).

As First Lady, Mrs. Carter managed routine duties and special projects in her office in the East Wing. She attended Cabinet meetings and major briefings, frequently represented her husband at ceremonial occasions, and served as the president’s personal emissary to Latin American countries.

“A former First Lady of Georgia and the United States, Rosalynn’s lifetime of work and her dedication for public service changed the lives of many,” said Georgia U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff. “Among her many accomplishments, Rosalynn Carter will be remembered for her compassionate nature and her passion for women’s rights, human rights, and mental health reform.

“The State of Georgia and the United States are better places because of Rosalynn Carter.”

“Beyond her influential role as a top presidential adviser, First Lady Carter stood out as one of the world’s foremost advocates for mental health care and the crucial role of caregivers in American life,” said Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. “Her unwavering commitment to these causes has undoubtedly had a lasting impact on our nation, leaving behind a legacy that will be remembered for generations.

“In these moments of grief, may we find solace in the enduring grace and strength exemplified by First Lady Rosalynn Carter. Her legacy will serve as a source of inspiration, reminding us to strive for a more compassionate and understanding world.”

“Mrs. Carter’s unwavering commitment to public service and advocacy has touched the lives of countless individuals. Her tireless efforts in mental health awareness, caregiving, and human rights have paved the way for positive change,” said Cobb County Sheriff Craig Owens.

“I join those across the world in mourning the loss of the beloved former first lady, Rosalynn Carter, and send my deepest condolences to my treasured friend, President Jimmy Carter, on the loss of his dear wife and best friend of 77 years, a marriage that exemplified true love and partnership,” said Arthur M. Blank, Blank Family of Businesses chairman and owner. “Mrs. Carter represented humanity in every sense of the word through her selfless dedication of service to those around her. Her leadership at The Carter Center and personal passion around mental health has positively impacted an immeasurable number of lives, and her work will forever influence generations to come. It was a great honor to know her and learn from her while working alongside as a board member of The Carter Center, and I consider her one of the greatest role models of our time. May her family find peace in honoring her legacy and may we all spread the love that Mrs. Carter so passionately represented.”

“The Atlanta City Council extends our deepest condolences to President Carter, family, friends, The Carter Foundation, and all those who loved and admired First Lady Rosalynn Carter. Her humanitarian work led the charge for many organizations. She made significant contributions as the First Lady and in her subsequent advocacy work. We will never forget her impact on the nation and her public service, tireless fundraising, and advocacy roles for mental health,” a statement from the governing body said.

This story is developing.

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