Updated Nov 27, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Rosalynn Carter lies in repose in Atlanta

A tribute to former first lady Rosalynn Carter outside of the The Carter Presidential Center.

A tribute to former first lady Rosalynn Carter outside of the Carter Presidential Center on Monday, Nov. 27. Photo: Emma Hurt

Members of the public paid their respects on Monday evening to former first lady Rosalynn Carter as she lay in repose in Atlanta ahead of her funeral and a national memorial service.

Driving the news: Monday marked the start of a series of ceremonies honoring the wife of former president Jimmy Carter, including a Tuesday memorial service in Atlanta that her husband plans to attend, the Carter Center announced.

  • Other dignitaries expected at the Emory University service include President Biden and first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and first gentleman Doug Emhoff, former President Bill Clinton and former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton.
  • Former first ladies Melania Trump, Michelle Obama and Laura Bush are also planning to attend.
  • Rosalynn and Jimmy's son, Chip, confirmed to the Washington Post that all living former first ladies were invited, per his mother's wishes.

What they're saying: Robert Dow of Atlanta said he came to pay his respects because he appreciates the Carters' "true love for humanity" and the civil rights legacy of the Carter presidency. "I think that our politicians are supposed to represent the people, and I feel that they truly did that."

  • Kimberly Stanley, who lives near the Carter Center, said she came because the Carters "gave so much to the nation, even after the presidency: selflessness, dignity, decency, humanity."
  • Stanley, who is a caregiver for someone with dementia, was struck by Rosalynn's decision to disclose her own dementia. "It underscores just the deep humanity of this couple. Maybe at a time when we're not seeing that enough."

Context: A motorcade on Monday traveled from Carter's alma mater — Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus — to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, which also houses the nonprofit Carter Center that the couple founded after leaving the White House.

Catch up fast: Rosalynn Carter, 96, died earlier this month shortly after the Carter Center announced that she had entered hospice care.

  • She died peacefully at home after an infection, with her hospital bed positioned feet-to-feet with her husband's — so they could sit up and speak to each other, the Post reported.

Zoom out: Jimmy Carter, 99, has been in hospice care since February.

What's next: Rosalynn will make one final trip to her and her husband's hometown of Plains on Wednesday morning.

  • There will be a private funeral at their church, Maranatha Baptist Church, followed by an interment at their home, where the Carters have long planned to be buried.

Editor's note: This story was updated with additional details.

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