Eko Hot Blog reports that a former First Lady of the United States (US), Rosalynn Carter, has died Sunday at the age of 96.
The Carter Center announced her demise in a statement late Sunday night.
The center said Mrs Carter passed away peacefully with family by her side at her home in Plains, Georgia.
“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” her husband, former President Jimmy Carter, said.
“She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me.”
Her death came days less than three days after the Carter Center announced that the former first lady had entered hospice care. She was diagnosed with dementia in May. Her husband began home hospice care in February, following a series of hospital stays.
Jimmy Carter was defeated in a landslide by Ronald Reagan four years after being elected.
His single term in the White House included forging a rare peace agreement between Israel and Egypt that continues to this day, but it was also marked by soaring inflation and the Iran hostage crisis.
Through it all, Rosalynn was by his side, and often whispering in his ear.
According to CNN, the former first lady worked tirelessly on behalf of mental health reform and professionalized the role of the president’s spouse.
The network added that the Carters redefined and revolutionized the post-presidency and, through their joint efforts, they worked on world peace and human rights on behalf of the Carter Center, a nongovernmental Atlanta-based organization founded to “wage peace, fight disease and build hope.”
After leaving the White House, the couple traveled to hot spots around the world, including visits to Cuba, Sudan and North Korea, monitoring elections and working to eradicate Guinea worm disease and other neglected tropical diseases. Jimmy Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.
Mrs Carter had a distant cousin with mental illness and she remembered running and hiding when she would hear him coming down the streets of their small town singing loudly.
“He probably wanted nothing more than friendship and recognition, yet he was different, and when I heard him, my impulse was to flee,” the former first lady wrote in her memoir.
The experience left such a deep impression on her that she devoted much of her time in the White House to advocating for better care for people with mental illnesses.
As Georgia’s first lady, she helped shift treatment to community mental health centers, and in the White House, she helped her husband create a Presidential Commission on Mental Health.
In the White House, Rosalynn would urge her husband to put off controversial decisions until after his reelection. She freely admitted, “I am much more political than Jimmy and was more concerned about popularity and winning reelection.”
She lobbied to have her husband fire Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Joe Califano. According to longtime Carter family friend and White House aide Jerry Rafshoon, she was angry at Califano over an anti-smoking campaign, fearing that it would hurt Carter’s standing in tobacco-producing North Carolina.
“I wanted Jimmy to fire Joe Califano long before he ever did,” she wrote in her memoir, “and my reasons were purely political.”
She opposed Carter’s Rose Garden strategy not to campaign against his 1980 Democratic primary challenger, Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, and instead to stay holed up in the White House negotiating the release of American hostages in Iran.
She also did not agree with Carter’s decision to bar alcohol from White House social events, though they did ultimately serve wine and spiked punch. The impression of out-of-touch Southern Baptists in the White House created a “stereotype that we never lived down,” she said.
She was sent to Central and South America to deliver a serious message on human rights. At first, leaders and the press were skeptical about a first lady taking such an important political trip, but eventually they realized that she had a direct line to the president.
She brought home tangible achievements: Ecuador pledged to sign and ratify the American Convention on Human Rights; the military leader of Peru vowed to give up power (four years later Rosalynn attended the inauguration of the democratically elected president of Peru); and the president of Colombia pressed to move negotiations forward on the Panama Canal.
Her biggest regret in life was her husband losing reelection in 1980.
“I’d like people to know that we were right, that what Jimmy Carter was doing was best for our country, and that people made a mistake by not voting for him,” she said in her memoir.
Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter had four children, 12 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.
Click here to watch our video of the week:
Advertise or Publish a Story on EkoHot Blog:
Kindly contact us at [email protected]. Breaking stories should be sent to the above email and substantiated with pictorial evidence.
Citizen journalists will receive a token as data incentive.
Call or Whatsapp: 0803 561 7233, 0703 414 5611