Rosalynn Carter, former US first lady, dies at 96 | Obituary news

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Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter were the longest-married presidential couple, having married in 1946 when he was 21 and she was 18.

Rosalynn Carter, former first lady of the United States and Jimmy Carter’s closest adviser during his one term as president, has died at the age of 96.

The Carter Center said Sunday that she died “peacefully, with family by her side” at her rural Georgia home in Plains after living with depression and suffering several months of failing health. decline.

“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” Carter said in a statement.

“She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew someone who loved me and supported me. “

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter were the longest-married presidential couple, having married in 1946 when he was 21 and she was 18.

After his term ended in 1981, she enjoyed more years in the White House than any previous president and played an instrumental role in those years, including as part of the Carter Center or -profit and the charity Habitat for Humanity.

She was seen as insincere and quiet before she came to Washington in 1977 but she became an eloquent speaker, campaigner and activist.

Her continued passion, which lasted well beyond her years in the White House, for those living with mental illness, was not because of any personal connection but because of a strong sense of the need to advocate.

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter dance at the White House Congressional Ball in 1978 [File: Library of Congress/Marion S Trikosko/Handout via Reuters]

Before Jimmy Carter was elected president in 1976, Roslynn was largely unknown outside of Georgia, where her husband had been a peanut farmer-turned-governor.

A Democrat, he served one four-year term, losing his 1980 re-election bid to former California Republican governor and Hollywood actor Ronald Reagan.

In Washington, DC, the Carters were a team, with the president calling her “an extension of myself” and “my closest adviser”. She was often invited to sit in as an observer at Cabinet meetings and political strategy discussions.

In an interview with magazine editors in 1978, Carter said that he shared almost everything with his wife except for confidential material. “I think she understands the sensibilities of the American people and perhaps their views better than I do,” he said.

The first lady was also sent on important official missions to Latin America and was part of the unsuccessful campaign to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution to ensure equal treatment for women under law

The Iran crisis – in which American diplomats and others were detained in Tehran after the Islamic revolution – occurred as Carter sought re-election. The crisis contributed to the downfall of his presidency as he stopped campaigning while trying to resolve the issue.

During that time, Rosalynn Carter was trying to support her husband by speaking in 112 cities in 34 states during a 44-day tour.

Her speeches and public statements were credited with helping Carter defeat Democratic challenger Ted Kennedy in the 1980 primaries, although he went on to losing heavily to Reagan in the general election.

Her interest in mental health issues came from the early 1970s when she began to understand the depth of the problem in Georgia and the reluctance of people to talk about it.

As Georgia’s first lady, she was a member of a governor’s commission to improve services for the mentally ill.

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