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America’s Living First Ladies Pay Tribute to One of Their Own
From Jill Biden to Hillary Clinton, warm remembrances celebrate Rosalynn Carter.
Tributes continue to pour in for former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, 96, who died Sunday in her home, six months after receiving a dementia diagnosis and two days after it was announced she was in hospice. America’s sitting and post-White House first ladies were among the first heartfelt condolences.
First Lady Dr. Jill Biden says Rosalynn Carter walked her own path and, along the way inspired a nation and world.
“My love is with the entire Carter family, as they, and we, grieve our dearest Rosalynn,” Biden says in a statement on social media.
Former First Lady Melania Trump in a social media post says Mrs. Carter leaves behind a meaningful legacy not only as first lady, but as a wife and a mother. “We will always remember her servant’s heart and devotion to her husband, family, and country. May she rest in peace.”
Former First Lady Michelle Obama called attention to the grace Carter extended to her while she was serving as first lady, a “role,” she adds, that is “not even an official position.” Although, Obama goes on to say, that the role is largely shaped by the passions and aspirations of the person holding the position. And that, Obama says, was something Carter understood well.
“When our family was in the White House, every so often, Rosalynn would join me for lunch, offering a few words of advice and always — always — a helping hand,” Obama says on social media. “She reminded me to make the role of First Lady my own, just like she did. I’ll always remain grateful for her support and her generosity.”
Former First Lady Laura Bush and President George W. Bush in a statement through the George W. Bush Presidential Center called Carter a woman of dignity and strength who left behind an important legacy in her work to destigmatize mental health.
“There was no greater advocate of President [Jimmy] Carter and their partnership set a wonderful example of loyalty and fidelity,” the statement reads.
Former First Lady, Secretary Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton in a joint statement on social media describe Carter as “the embodiment of a life lived with purpose.” Hillary Clinton on her Instagram account says, “I’m grateful for more than 40 years of her friendship and thinking today of President Carter, her family and all the many people who loved her.”
The Clintons honored Carter describing her long and remarkable life as someone with “an unwavering voice for the overlooked and underrepresented.” They pointed to Carter’s mental health advocacy that provided more people with better care and less stigma, her leadership on early immunizations, and her work at The Carter Center and Habitat for Humanity that “helped spread hope, health and democracy.”
At the National First Ladies Library and Museum in Canton, Ohio, Patty Dowd Schmitz, president and CEO, also paid tribute to Carter in a statement.
“We are saddened to hear of Mrs. Carter’s passing. She was an exemplary First Lady and role model for so many, through her care and compassion for all. We at the National First Ladies Library and Museum send our most heartfelt condolences to President Carter and to the entire Carter family.”
The National First Ladies Library and Museum, established in 1997 with the mission of telling the entirety of stories of America’s first ladies from the time of their births to their deaths, released a comprehensive video tribute to Carter with collections of photos and videos from throughout Carter’s life.
The First Ladies Association for Research and Education, honored Carter’s memory by sharing President Bill Clinton’s 1999 remarks on Carter when he awarded the Carters were jointly awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“FLARE shares in the nation's mourning of the passing of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter,” the organization said on its website. Read the full transcript of Clinton’s remarks here.
FLARE is a nonprofit organization affiliated with American University with a mission to create and sustain a network to promote and publicize research and education relevant to the contributions, lives, impact, and lasting legacies of U.S. first ladies.
The White House Historical Association, established in 1961 by former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy to preserve and provide access to the history of the White House, also saluted Carter, saying she “maintained an active role throughout her time in the White House.” Read the full statement and view the gallery on the WHHA website.
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