RIP Rosalynn Carter: America mourns the passing of the former First Lady, aka ‘Steel Magnolia’

RIP Rosalynn Carter: Joe Biden and Jill Biden remember former first lady’s “hope, warmth and optimism” in joint statement

Steel Magnolia Rosalynn Carter, former first lady mental health advocate, dies at 96.—Reuters/File
Former first lady mental health advocate, “Steel Magnolia” Rosalynn Carter dies at 96.—Reuters/File

Rosalynn Carter, wife of former President Jimmy Carter and a longtime mental health advocate and humanitarian, died Sunday at the age of 96 with her family by her side in her Plains home, according to the Carter Center.

Rosalynn Carter was in hospice care Friday, the Carter Center announced. Her family said earlier this year that she had been diagnosed with dementia. Jimmy Carter, who is 99, has been in hospice care since February.

“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I accomplished,” the former president said in a statement. “She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalyn was in this world, I always knew I had someone loving and supporting me.”

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden recalled the former first lady’s “hope, warmth and optimism” in a joint statement released Sunday.

He praised Carter’s support for equal rights, as well as his advocacy on mental health issues and other causes. The White House statement said that the lives of countless people, “are better, fuller and brighter because of the life and legacy of Rosalynn Carter.”

Former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush also praised Rosalynn Carter on Sunday, calling her a “woman of honor and strength.”

“President Carter had no greater supporter, and their partnership set an amazing example of loyalty and devotion. She leaves an important legacy in her work to destigmatize mental health.

We join our fellow citizens in expressing our condolences to President Carter and his family,” the two said in a prepared statement.

Rosalynn Carter was First Lady from 1977 to 1981 and was dubbed “Steel Magnolia” by the press during her years in the White House, as she demonstrated her toughness behind the mild persona she adopted externally.

Throughout Jimmy Carter’s tenure in public office, she was her husband’s closest political advisor. She also revolutionized the role of First Lady by expanding the office beyond hostess duties and professionalizing it.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top