Former President Jimmy Carter arrives in wheelchair at late wife Rosalynn’s funeral

With the passing of his wife of 77 years, former president Jimmy Carter suffered a huge loss.

Rosalynn, who had spent most of her life raising awareness about mental health, died November 19 at the age of 96.

The Carter Center reported that Rosalynn battled dementia and that her health deteriorated recently. She died just two days after joining her husband in hospice.

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“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” former president Jimmy Carter said in the statement. “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.”

Truly, Rosalynn was her husband’s greatest support in life, and with her passing, he not only lost his life partner, but his best friend.

The former First Lady was honored by her loved ones and laid to rest on Wednesday in her longtime home of Plains, Georgia. The funeral service was held at Maranatha Baptist Church, where Jimmy Carter and the former first lady worshipped. Earlier tributes were held in nearby Americus and in Atlanta.

The Tuesday memorial was attended by two other presidents and all the living first ladies who joined the extended Carter family before Wednesday’s hometown funeral.

Jimmy Carter made two public appearances as he attended the funeral and the service of his wife. At the Atlanta service, he wore a blanket bearing his and Rosalynn’s faces, and sat in the front row with two of his children on each side. He was in a wheelchair, wearing a suit and a tie.

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Jimmy and Rosalynn spent the last days of her life by each other’s side. Jimmy asked his bed to be placed next to hers so that they could talk to one another.

“My father told her he loved her and thanked her for all the wonderful things she had done,” the Carters’ son James E. “Chip” Carter III, who was in his parents’ bedroom with other family members said. “Then he asked us to leave so he could be alone with her.

“I’m sure he prayed,” Chip explained.

ASPEN, CO – JUNE 23: Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter speaks with President Jimmy Carter and Aspen Institute president and CEO Walter Isaacson during the McCloskey Speaker Series on June 23, 2015 in Aspen, Colorado. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images)

Sadly, however, by Sunday morning, Rosalynn had lost the power of speech. Later that day, her long and inspiring life came to an end.

Rosalynn, the recipient of a number of honors from organizations like the National Organization of Women and the National Mental Health Association, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom alongside her husband in 1999. During her husband’s presidency, she broke many barriers and was a great humanitarian.

Rest in peace, Rosalynn.

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