Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, known for her dedication to mental health research and support for worthy causes, has passed away at the age of 96. She was the wife of President Jimmy Carter and served as the First Lady from 1977 to 1981.
Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter had a love story that lasted for over seven decades, beginning in a small rural town in Georgia. Let’s take a closer look at the incredible life of Rosalynn Carter and the beautiful love story she shared with her husband.
Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter were practically lifelong friends. They met when Rosalynn was born and Jimmy was just three years old. Rosalynn’s mother, a nurse, helped deliver Jimmy when his neighbor went into labor. From that day forward, their lives became intertwined. They grew up in Plains, Georgia, a town with a population of only 600 people. While Rosalynn initially became best friends with Jimmy’s sister, Ruth, it was during their teenage years that they began to see each other in a different light.
Falling in Love
As teenagers, Jimmy and Rosalynn started to develop feelings for each other. Jimmy had dreams of a military career and attended Georgia Southwestern College and the Georgia Institute of Technology before joining the United States Naval Academy. Meanwhile, back in Plains, Rosalynn had already fallen in love with him. In her memoir, Rosalynn described seeing a photograph of Jimmy on Ruth’s bedroom wall and feeling an instant connection. Their first official date happened when Rosalynn’s then-boyfriend was away, and Jimmy picked her up in front of the Methodist church. They rode in the rumble seat of a Ford pickup, and that night, under a full moon, they shared their first kiss. The sparks flew, and the rest is history.
Marriage and Children
Jimmy and Rosalynn started dating in 1945 and remained inseparable. They got married on July 7, 1946, when Jimmy was deployed to different parts of the world. Rosalynn supported him and followed him wherever he went. Their love was tested early on when Jimmy proposed to Rosalynn for the first time, and she initially said no. However, after months of persistence, she said yes. Over the next six years, they welcomed three sons—Jack, Chip, and Jefferey—and in 1967, their only daughter, Amy Lynn, was born. They eventually settled down in Plains, Georgia, where they took over Jimmy’s peanut-growing farm.
Challenges and Growth
Like any couple, Jimmy and Rosalynn faced challenges during their marriage. In an interview, Jimmy admitted that he was initially the dominant figure in their relationship, but over time, Rosalynn became just as strong, if not stronger. They had their fair share of quarrels, but they worked through them and grew together. Their mutual love and shared religious faith helped them overcome difficulties and sustain their marriage.
Rosalynn Carter as First Lady
As Jimmy Carter began his political career, Rosalynn stood by his side every step of the way. In 1970, he became the Governor of Georgia, and in 1977, he was inaugurated as the 39th President of the United States. As First Lady, Rosalynn was not content to sit idly by. She actively engaged in projects, attended meetings, and had her own office in the East Wing—a historic first for a presidential spouse. Rosalynn was passionate about the performing arts and invited musicians from around the world. She also dedicated herself to mental health, community development, and support for older individuals. Her work earned her recognition and made her as famous as her husband.
The Carter Legacy
After their time in the White House, the Carters devoted themselves to humanitarian work through the Carter Center and Habitat for Humanity. They built thousands of homes worldwide and received numerous awards for their efforts.
Despite their many accomplishments, the Carter’s greatest achievement was their enduring love for each other. In 2021, they celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. Jimmy Carter once said, “The best thing I ever did was marrying Rosalynn.” Their love never faded, and they cherished every moment spent together.
Earlier this year, both Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter entered hospice care at home. On Sunday, November 19, Rosalynn Carter peacefully passed away at the age of 96, surrounded by her family. Jimmy Carter described her as his equal partner in everything he accomplished and credited her with giving him wise guidance and support throughout their lives.
Tributes poured in from Washington and beyond, with former presidents, including Barack Obama and Donald Trump, paying their respects to the beloved Rosalynn Carter. Her legacy as a devoted First Lady, humanitarian, and supporter of mental health will forever be remembered.
Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter’s love story is a testament to enduring love, mutual support, and dedication. From their humble beginnings in a small town to the halls of the White House, they weathered numerous challenges together.
They worked tirelessly for the betterment of others and left a lasting impact on the world. The love and partnership they shared for over seven decades will forever be an inspiration to all. Rosalynn Carter’s passing is a loss for the nation, but her remarkable life and legacy will continue to shine brightly.