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Timeline: Former first lady Rosalynn Carter over the decades

Christopher Quinn, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in News & Features

Former first lady Rosalynn Carter has died at the age of 96.

Her death, announced Sunday, came just days after The Carter Center revealed Mrs. Carter had entered hospice care at her home in Plains.

This past May, the Carter family announced that Mrs. Carter was battling dementia.

In February, the Carter family announced that Jimmy Carter, 99, had decided against any further medical treatment and entered home hospice care.

The Carters have been at home together in the tiny rural town of Plains, Georgia. They have lived in the same ranch house since 1961, absent their time in the Georgia governor’s mansion and the White House.

Here is a timeline of Mrs. Carter through the decades.


Aug. 18, 1927: Eleanor Rosalynn Smith is born in Plains, the first of four children born to Allethea Murray Smith and Wilburn Edgar Smith. After her father dies when she was 13, Rosalynn helps her mother raise her younger siblings, and eventually graduates as the valedictorian of her high school class.

1945: Rosalynn, 17 and in her freshman year at Georgia Southwestern College (today known as Georgia Southwestern State University), goes on a date with her friend’s older brother, Jimmy Carter.

July 7, 1946: Ensign Jimmy Carter, a new graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, marries Rosalynn Smith.

July 3, 1947: The first of three Carter sons, John William “Jack” Carter, is born in Portsmouth, Virginia. He is to be followed by James Earl Carter III, known as Chip, born on April 12, 1950, in Honolulu, and Donnel Jeffrey, born on Aug. 18, 1952, in New London, Connecticut.


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