Rosalynn Carter: A life in photos

Former first lady Rosalynn Carter, who died Sunday at the age of 96, is being remembered for her devotion to her family, the nation, and humanitarian work around the world. She is survived by her husband of 77 years, former President Jimmy Carter, who is 99. 

The Carter Center said she died “peacefully, with family by her side,” at her home in Plains, Georgia. She had been diagnosed with dementia and had recently entered home hospice care

Born in Plains on Aug. 18, 1927, the oldest of four children, Rosalynn Smith was 18 when she started dating Jimmy Carter. They married a year later, in 1946. 

The Carters lived in several cities around the world when Jimmy Carter served in the Navy, before returning to Plains to run his family’s peanut business. Along the way, they had three sons and one daughter.

Carter Family in 1976
Jimmy Carter with wife Rosalynn Carter and their daughter Amy at the Baptist church in his hometown of Plains, Georgia, in 1976.

/ Getty Images

She campaigned by his side when he entered politics, and was a trusted adviser to her husband throughout their time in public life. 

Jimmy Carter was elected governor of Georgia in 1970, and in 1976, he ran for president. He won the Democratic nomination and went on to defeat Republican Gerald Ford on Election Day. 

Jimmy Carter, Rosalynn Carter, Chip Carter During 1976 New Hampshire Presidential Primary
Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter at campaign event for the 1976 New Hampshire presidential primary.

Ann Limongello /Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

Jimmy And Rosalynn Carter Embrace, 1976.
Jimmy Carter embraces his wife Rosalynn after receiving the news of his victory in the presidential election on Nov. 2, 1976.

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Democrat Jimmy Carter is sworn in by chief justice Earl Burger as the 39th president of the United States while first lady Rosalynn looks on, Washington DC, January 20, 1977. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

After they moved into the White House, Rosalynn Carter used the first lady’s office as a platform to promote better understanding of mental illness, and served as the honorary chairperson of the President’s Commission on Mental Health.

Rosalynn Carter on the Campaign Trail
First lady Rosalynn Carter talks on the telephone in her plane as she returns from a campaign trip to Florida on Oct. 5, 1979.

/ Getty Images

President Carter lost his bid for reelection in 1980, and the Carters began a new phase of their lives. 

They founded the Carter Center in Atlanta, with a mission of promoting peace and conflict resolution. And they worked for decades on behalf of Habitat for Humanity to build new homes for the poor.

“She was a partner in good deeds with her husband, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, as they traversed the globe to strengthen democracy, resolve conflicts, advance human rights, and eliminate debilitating diseases after their time in the White House,” staff of the Carter Center wrote in a tribute following her death. “She will ever inspire us.”

Habitat for Humanity's Carter Work Project
 Former president Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter, work on building a home during Habitat for Humanity’s Carter Work Project event in Denver, Oct. 9, 2013. 

RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Jimmy Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. Here, he signs the guestbook in the Nobel Institute in Oslo, Norway, next to his wife Rosalynn, as members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee look on.

-/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Here are more photos from Rosalynn Carter’s extraordinary life: 

First lady Rosalynn Carter is seen circa the 1970s.
First lady Rosalynn Carter in the 1970s.

Images Press/Getty Images

First lady Rosalynn Carter climbs the steps to her plane during a trip to Texas in September 1978.
First lady Rosalynn Carter climbs the steps to her plane during a trip to Texas in September 1978.

Diana Walker/Getty Images

US President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter dance at a White House Congressional Ball, Washington
President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter dance at a White House Congressional Ball, in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 13, 1978 .

Marion S. Trikosko / Getty Images

Barbara Walters interviews President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter in 1978,
Barbara Walters (right) interviews President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter in December 1978.

HUM Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The official White House portrait of President-elect Jimmy Carter, Rosalynn Carter and daughter Amy.


Photo of Elvis Presley & Jimmy Carter & Rosalynn Carter
Then President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter with Elvis Presley in 1977.

/ Getty Images

The Carters and the Sadats at Giza Pyramids
Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat and his wife Jehan pose with President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter at the Pyramids during a diplomatic visit, March 10, 1979.

© Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Jimmy Carter Habitat for Humanity 1992
Former President Jimmy Carter, left, and Rosalynn Carter, center, get a tour of the Sandtown Project by Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, right, on March 27, 1992. The Carters were in town to kick off the Sandtown Habitat for Humanity campaign to rehabilitate 100 vacant homes.

Carlos Osorio / AP

Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter at work renovating a tenement on the East 6th Street in the East Village in Manhattan on September 4, 1984.
Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter at work renovating a tenement in Manhattan on Sept. 4, 1984 as part of their work with Habitat for Humanity.

Jim Peppler/Newsday RM via Getty Images

Six First Ladies
First ladies (L-R): Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, Rosalynn Carter and Betty Ford, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library dedication in Simi Valley, California. on Nov. 4, 1991.

Marcy Nighswander / AP

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter in Mosebo, Ethiopia, 9-15-05, where the Carter Center is fighting the eye disease trachoma.
Former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter tour Mosebo, Ethiopia, Sept. 15, 2005, with a Carter Center delegation. Mosebo is an Ethiopian village where the Center has worked to eradicate the eye disease trachoma, which can cause blindness.

AP/Carter Center/Vanessa Vick

Georgia On His Mind
Former President Jimmy Carter, right, and his wife Rosalynn join country singer Willie Nelson on the stage during a free concert in Carters’ hometown of Plains, Georgia, Sept. 9, 2004. 


Jimmy Carter; Rosalynn Carter
Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn Carter pose for a portrait during the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 10, 2007.

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Rosalynn Carter
Former first lady Rosalynn Carter speaks during a U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., May 26, 2011. She urged reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, which provides older Americans access to care-giving services. 

SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

(L-R): Former first lady Rosalynn Carter, Michelle Obama,  Hillary Rodham Clinton, former President George W. Bush, and Nancy Reagan attend the funeral of former first lady Betty Ford on July 12, 2011, in Palm Desert, California.

David Hume Kennerly/Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum via Getty Images

(L-R): Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, Barbara Bush and Rosalynn Carter are introduced during the opening ceremony of the George W. Bush Presidential Center on April 25, 2013 in Dallas, Texas.

Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

Jimmy And Rosalynn Carter Campaign With Jason Carter In Columbus
Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate and State Sen. Jason Carter, center, arrives at a campaign event with his grandparents, former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter, at Emmanuel Christian Community Church on Oct. 27, 2014 in Columbus, Georgia. 

Jessica McGowan / Getty Images

Carter Anniversary
Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn arrive for a ribbon cutting ceremony for a solar panel project on farmland he owns in their hometown of Plains, Georgia, on Feb. 8, 2017.

David Goldman / AP

Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter arrive at inauguration ceremonies swearing in Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D,C,, Jan. 20, 2017.

REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Biden Carter Visit
In this April 30, 2021, photo released by The White House, former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter pose for a photo with President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden at the Carters’ home in Plains, Georgia.

Adam Schultz / AP

Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter
Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn Carter sit together during a reception to celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary on July 10, 2021, in Plains, Georgia.

John Bazemore / AP

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