Rosalyn Carter was honored at the memorial service by her husband, Jimmy, and fellow first ladies

Former President Jimmy Carter left hospice Tuesday with his heirs and every living presidential spouse to honor Rosalyn Carter, the nation’s first lady from 1977 to 1981.

Mr. who turned 99 last month. Carter, who has rarely been seen in public since entering a hospice facility in February, traveled 140 miles from the couple’s home in Plains, Ga., to pay her respects at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church. at Emory University. President Biden, former President Bill Clinton and five living first ladies were also in attendance.

Mr. Carter was brought into the church in a wheelchair, the crowd of mourners catching their first glimpse of him in months. He was dressed in a dark suit and tie, with a blanket wrapped around his legs. His face was pale, and he did not make eye contact with several relatives and members of the presidential family seated near him. His daughter, Amy Carter, sat beside him, holding his hand.

Jason Carter, one of the former president’s grandsons and chairman of the Carter Center board, said in an interview before the service that “he’s coming to an end, he’s very physically diminished.” “But I think he was proud and happy that he was there for her until the end, and he wasn’t going to miss this for anything.”

The former president was unable to address them and left it to others to express his own feelings. Speaking from the pulpit, family and friends honored Mrs. Carter as her husband’s alter ego and most important confidant, with her own strong will behind a shy exterior and a steadfast commitment to helping the world’s most vulnerable.

“What a remarkable woman she was — wife, mother, business manager, political strategist, diplomat, lawyer, author,” said Kathryn Gate, who served as Mrs. Carter’s program director on the East Side of the White House. For decades on end. “However what I remember most about her is her tireless dedication to caring for others.”

Her son James Earl Carter III, who goes by Chip, said Mrs. Carter got the help she needed to fight her addiction. “She saved my life,” he said. And he said he saved many more through his work in the White House and beyond.

Losing the 1980 elections was devastating for all of us. His parents were still young, in their 50s. “They knew they had more to contribute. They decided to become missionaries.

He added: “My mother, Rosalyn Carter, was the most beautiful woman I ever met – and beautiful to look at,” he said.

Mrs. Suffering from Dementia. Carter died last week at age 96 at the family’s modest farm home on the Plains, just months after she and her husband celebrated their 77th wedding anniversary. American history. Frail but alert and smiling, the two were last seen in public in September when they were driven around the Plains Peanut Festival.

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Born in her family’s home in Plains, where she lived most of her life, Eleanor Rosalyn Smith as a young woman might have been surprised by the star-studded arrival expected to greet her at the end. Her father drove a school bus, owned an auto repair shop, and ran a farm, while her mother sold milk from a cow, worked in a school lunchroom, and later joined the post office.

Rosalyn Carter, as she became known after marrying her childhood friend’s older brother, never forgot her humble roots as she moved to the White House, traveled the world representing her country, improved mental health services and transformed her role. First lady. Mr. After Carter lost re-election, the two returned to the small house they had built in 1961 and spent the past four decades focusing on philanthropy.

His grandson said his work to promote understanding of mental illness was his proudest achievement. “His fight against the age-old stigma surrounding mental illness is a very lasting legacy,” said Jason Carter. “Even my kids can see how far we’ve come in the last five years, and then you think how far we’ve come in the last 50 years. He was way ahead of his time on that issue.”

Mr. Biden and Mr. In addition to Clinton, those attending Tuesday’s service included Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff; Jill Biden, current First Lady; former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Three other former first ladies, Laura Bush, Michelle Obama and Melania Trump; Governor Brian Kemp and Georgia’s First Lady, Marty Kemp; and Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens.

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Among the invited speakers were none of the high-profile participants. This ceremony Mrs. Reflected Carter’s taste for simple elegance over modern glitz. Her grandchildren, her son, her daughter, one of her grandsons and three of her great-grandchildren served as honorary pallbearers, with remarks or readings from three.

Members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, David Osborne, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, were tapped to provide musical selections.

Mrs. Carter will then be flown to Plains, where she will be buried at the Carter Home and Gardens, part of the Jimmy Carter National Historical Park, after a funeral service at Maranatha Baptist Church on Wednesday. Mr. Carter plans to rest by her side when the time comes.

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