After the death of Rosalynn Carter — the wife of Jimmy Carter — the former president deeply mourns the loss of his beloved and “equal partner in everything.” And the marriage of Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter is a testament to the enduring power of love grounded in unwavering faith.
The wife of Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States, passed away at the age of 96 on Sunday, November 19, 2023.
Her death came months after Rosalynn Carter’s diagnosis of dementia, announced on May 30, 2023. And it left her 99-year-old husband processing the crippling grief of losing his wife of 77 years.
The Enduring Faith-Filled Marriage of Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter
Rosalynn, born Eleanor Rosalynn Smith in 1927, hails from Plains, Georgia. Long before she stepped into the spotlight as the First Lady, her roots were firmly grounded in faith and family. She grew up in a devout Baptist household, laying the foundation for the values that would become a hallmark of her relationship with Jimmy Carter.
Rosalynn became the wife of Jimmy Carter on July 7, 1946. The two got married in their hometown of Plains, Georgia. And it was the start of what would become the longest marriage of any first couple in U.S. history.
As Jimmy’s political career gained momentum, Rosalynn stood by his side, offering not only unwavering support but also actively participating in his endeavors. And throughout President Jimmy Carter’s tenure from 1977 to 1981, Rosalynn refused to serve merely as a ceremonial figure. She actively engaged in social and humanitarian causes, reflecting her deep-rooted commitment to serving others.
As committed as Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter were to the community, they also remained deeply dedicated to each other. In fact, the two had a secret code they began using with each other in the 40s: “ILYTG.” It stood for the phrase, “I love you the goodest.”
“That’s what my mother and daddy used to say back and forth, and I picked it up with Rosa,” Jimmy explained.
The couple’s marriage weathered the challenges of political life, and their love story became a beacon of stability and mutual respect.
Saying Goodbye to Wife of Jimmy Carter
Rosalynn Carter passed away “peacefully, with her family by her side” in her home in Plains, Georgia. After remaining faithfully by each other’s side for more than seven decades, the loss was understandably incredibly difficult for Jimmy Carter.
“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” the former president 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.”
Jimmy Carter faces his own medical challenges. In 2015, the former president underwent elective surgery to remove a mass on his liver. Doctors diagnosed him with melanoma and the operation revealed the cancer had spread to other parts of his body.
After a series of falls and short hospital stays, Jimmy Carter announced in February 2023 the decision to cease full-scale medical care and instead “spend his remaining time at home with his family.” And his wife also entered hospice care at home with the diagnosis of dementia.
An Enduring Love Grounded in Faith
Despite her diagnosis and the issues it wrought on her memories, the wife of Jimmy Carter never forgot her beloved husband.
"They still sit on the couch together, in the same place they've always sat," the one of the couple’s grandsons, Josh Carter, shared before Rosalynn Carter’s death.
Just as they always had, Jimmy and Rosalynn relied on their shared faith to see them through, bringing comfort in the final days.
“They also know that they're not in charge,” said Jason Carter, another grandson. “Their faith is really grounding in this moment. In that way, it's as good as it can be."
So, with the Lord calling Jimmy Carter’s wife home, that faith will again provide comfort in knowing they will be reunited again one day in Heaven. We see that the enduring marriage of Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter was far more than a political partnership. It was a union strengthened by a foundation of faith that continues to inspire generations.
Their journey reminds us that, in the ebb and flow of life, love rooted in unwavering faith can stand as a beacon of hope and a testament to the enduring power of commitment.
“With all lowliness and humility, with patience, bearing with one another in love; being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2-3
WATCH: Remembering First Lady Rosalynn Carter
LISTEN: Amy Grant Talks Her Christian Faith | Family Blesses Dad By Flying In All Of His Siblings For Birthday
h/t: The New York Times
Featured Image Credit: Facebook/CNN