Former First Lady Dies at 96 Years Old

Former First Lady Dies at 96 Years Old

( – While US presidents lead and provide the face for the country, many have had formidable wives who played significant roles during their term in the White House. Rosalynn Carter, wife of former President Jimmy Carter, was one such figure. In a time when the first lady’s role was to host dinner and tea, she decided to go further, building on the gains of former First Ladies Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Ford, and Lady Bird Johnson, who came before her. Sadly, she recently passed away.

Mrs. Carter passed away on Sunday, November 19, at her Plains, Georgia, home. In May, the family revealed she had received a diagnosis of dementia. She was 96.

The former first lady made waves when she expanded the role, going so far as to offer her husband political advice — something he always earnestly considered, even if he decided not to take her advice. She also became a strong advocate for mental health care, women’s rights, and elder care.

According to The New York Times, Mrs. Carter played a pivotal part in President Carter’s Camp David meetings, helping to broker peace between Egypt and Israel. Years later, when asked about the pushback she received for her active role, she notably said, “you can’t let it stop you,” and she didn’t.

Following her death, many current and former politicians spoke about her legacy. Former First Lady Michelle Obama noted on social media how Carter visited her at the White House, offering advice and telling her to “make the role” her own. The Clintons said in a statement, “Rosalynn will be forever remembered as the embodiment of a life lived with purpose,” and the George W. Bush family recognized her legacy and the Carters’ extraordinary partnership while extending their condolences.

The Carters enjoyed an astonishing 77 years of marriage, having first met as small children — he was three, and she was just a day old at their first meeting. It wasn’t until he was 20 and she was 17 that the pair started dating, and even then, it took two years for him to woo her into marriage. The two seemingly set the bar for marriages. They were always holding hands and laughing or smiling when people saw them together, and they did a lot of humanitarian work as a couple after he left office. Mr. Carter has gone on record in a statement, saying his wife was his “equal partner in everything” and as long as she “was in the world [he] always knew somebody loved and supported [him].”

The former president entered hospice care in February after a series of hospitalizations. At 99 years old, he holds the record as the oldest living former commander-in-chief.

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