November 19th 2023.
On November 19th, Rosalynn Carter, the former First Lady of the United States and a renowned advocate for mental health, passed away at the age of 96. She died peacefully at her home in Plains, Georgia, after being diagnosed with dementia earlier this year.
Rosalynn, the wife of former President Jimmy Carter, was born Eleanor Rosalynn Smith on August 18th, 1927, on a family farm outside Plains. After the couple married in the Navy, Jimmy decided to leave the Navy and return to the family peanut business in Plains when his father passed away in 1953.
Rosalynn and Jimmy faced financial challenges, and worked together to turn their peanut business around. When Jimmy decided to enter politics, Rosalynn managed his campaign correspondence, which included his successful bid for the Georgia state Senate as a Democrat in 1962.
During her time as First Lady from 1977 to 1981, Rosalynn made significant contributions to both the nation and her husband’s presidency. She was known for her determination and commitment to various causes, particularly in the field of mental health. She became the first First Lady to maintain an office in the White House’s East Wing, and the second First Lady, after Eleanor Roosevelt, to testify in Congress.
Rosalynn was also sent on a diplomatic mission to Latin America, by her husband, in 1977. During her 13 day visit, she met with governmental figures and addressed a range of critical topics. Her fluency in Spanish, having taken an intensive language course prior to the trip, was highly praised.
The Carters co-founded the Carter Center, a nonprofit organization based in Atlanta that focuses on human rights and alleviating suffering worldwide. The couple had been married for more than 77 years, the longest presidential marriage in U.S. history.
Rosalynn is survived by her husband, daughter, three sons, 11 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren. She will be remembered for her compassion, commitment, and advocacy for mental health. Her legacy will continue to live on through the Carter Center and the countless lives she has impacted.
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