The Late Rosalynn Carter Honored for Long Life of Service

Thousands of admirers from all walks of life honored former U.S. First Lady Rosalynn Smith Carter, who died at home in Plains, Georgia, on Nov. 19, 2023, at age 96.

Tributes to the longtime mental health care champion dominated social media, while many others flowed into

“First Lady Rosalynn Carter walked her own path, inspiring a nation and the world along the way. My love is with the entire Carter family, as they, and we, grieve our dearest Rosalynn,” current First Lady Jill Biden wrote.

“We were blessed to have her in the White House and in her own house for so long. The world is better for her having graced us with her presence,” wrote Maggie Werner Washburne of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

A motorcade bearing Mrs. Carter’s body stopped for a wreath-laying ceremony at her statue in front of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers at Georgia Southwestern State University, her alma mater. Mrs. Carter founded the institute in Americus, Georgia, to conduct research and provide support for people who give long-term care for family members or others.

“Mrs. Carter spent her life fighting for mental health parity and lifting up the voices of family caregivers,” institute CEO Jennifer Olsen said in a statement. “Mrs. Carter founded RCI 36 years ago… her voice and vision are at the heart of everything we do, and she will always be our north star.”

Mrs. Carter’s remains were brought to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, where mourners filed past to pay their respects. Admirers left flowers and mementos at the gate of the Carter Presidential Center and in downtown Plains.

Carter Center staff and volunteers stood in silence outside the museum as an honor guard carried Mrs. Carter’s casket to a hearse that took her to a public funeral at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church in Atlanta, where her great-grandchildren read Scripture passages and her children and other family members talked about her impact on their lives.

Her son Chip Carter spoke tenderly of how she supported him throughout his life, including when he went into rehab for drug and alcohol addiction: “She saved my life.” He concluded by saying: “My mother, Rosalynn Carter, was the most beautiful woman I ever met – and pretty to look at, too.”

Grandson Jason Carter, who is chair of the Carter Center Board of Trustees, told several loving and humorous anecdotes about Mrs. Carter, including the time she made pimento cheese sandwiches for other passengers on a commercial flight. He also talked about her travel to more than 120 countries, where she would “open up her heart to those people, not with pity but as partners.”

Her close friend Kathryn Cade, who is vice chair of the Carter Center board, said, “Rosalynn’s compassion and empathy for those who are suffering were boundless, her passion for action even more so.”

At the Glenn service, country singers Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood performed John Lennon’s “Imagine,” and pianist David Osborne played a medley of Mrs. Carter’s favorite tunes. Her husband of 77 years, 99-year-old former President Jimmy Carter, attended the service despite having been in hospice care for nine months.

An intimate private funeral was held at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, the family wearing leis to commemorate Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter’s time living in Hawaii.

“She saw people in forgotten corners of forgotten places as people who have hopes and dreams and are worthy of love,” grandson Josh Carter said from the pulpit.

Mrs. Carter was buried in front of the modest home she shared with her husband for more than 60 years.

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Rosalynn Carter 1927-2023


From the Georgia State House to the White House and for decades after, Rosalynn Carter was actively devoted to building a more caring society.

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