Rosalynn Carter Honored by Husband, Jimmy, and Fellow First Ladies at Memorial Service

Mrs. Carter, who was suffering from dementia, died at 96 last week at the family’s modest ranch-style house in Plains, Ga. It was just four months after she and her husband celebrated their 77th wedding anniversary, making them the longest-lasting presidential couple in American history.

The former president, who turned 99 last month and has rarely been seen in public since entering hospice care in February, made the 140-mile journey from Plains to Atlanta to join President Biden, former President Bill Clinton and all five living first ladies for the invitation-only service at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church at Emory University.

Mr. Carter was brought into the church in a wheelchair as the crowd looked on with anticipation, catching their first glimpse of him in many months. He was dressed in a dark suit and tie with a Plains blanket with images of him and his wife wrapped over his legs. His face was pale, his mouth hung open and he did not make eye contact with many mourners. His daughter, Amy Carter, sat next to him holding his hand, flanked by her brothers, Jack, Chip and Jeff.

The former president was unable to address the gathering and so left it to others to express his feelings. From the pulpit, family and friends honored Mrs. Carter as her husband’s alter ego and most important confidant, with a strong will of her own sometimes disguised by a shy exterior.

“What a remarkable woman she was — wife, mother, business manager, political strategist, diplomat, advocate, author,” said Kathryn Cade, who served as Mrs. Carter’s project director in the East Wing of the White House and worked with her for decades to follow. “Yet what I remember most about her was her tireless dedication to taking care of others.”