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Jimmy Carter, 99, says his final goodbye to beloved wife Rosalynn: Ex-President arrives with his family for first lady’s funeral before she is buried at the modest Georgia home they shared for 57 years

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Jimmy Carter arrived for the private funeral of his wife Rosalynn on Wednesday, joining his family at the Maranatha Baptist Church where they worshipped.

The former president arrived in a wheelchair, wearing a red lei around his neck. He and other family members wore necklaces made of the Hawaiian flowers to honor Rosalynn Carter’s love of Hawaii, where the Carters lived when Jimmy was in the Navy.

Later in the day, Rosalynn will be buried at the modest Plains, Georgia, home she shared with husband Jimmy Carter, in view of the front porch where the two often sat.

Her private funeral service concludes three-days of tributes to the late first lady, including a service on Tuesday that saw Joe and Jill Biden, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Melania Trump making their farewells. 

Rosalynn Carter will share a plot with her 99-year-old husband, who left hospice care to make his first public appearance in almost a year when he attended her memorial service in Atlanta.

The two were married for 77 years and their love story – along with Rosalynn’s humanitarian work – was a major theme of Tuesday’s service. 

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Former President Jimmy Carter arrives for the funeral service for his wife, former first lady Rosalynn Carter at Maranatha Baptist Church

An honor guard from the Georgia State Patrol stand at the casket before the funeral service for former first lady Rosalynn Carter at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Ga.

An honor guard from the Georgia State Patrol stand at the casket before the funeral service for former first lady Rosalynn Carter at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Ga.

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter's home in Plains, Ga., where she will be buried

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter’s home in Plains, Ga., where she will be buried

Amy Carter, left, and her husband John Joseph "Jay" Kelly, right, arrive for the funeral service for former first lady Rosalynn Carter

Amy Carter, left, and her husband John Joseph ‘Jay’ Kelly, right, arrive for the funeral service for former first lady Rosalynn Carter

Their daughter Amy Carter choked back tears as she talked about her parents.

‘My mom spent most of her life in love with my dad,’ she noted in Tuesday’s meorial service. ‘Their partnership and love story was a defining feature of her life. Because he isn’t able to speak to you today. I’m going to share some of his words about loving and missing.’

She then read from a letter Jimmy Carter wrote Rosalynn 75 years ago while serving in the Navy: ‘My darling every time I have ever been away from you, I have been thrilled when I returned to discover just how wonderful you are. While I’m away I tried to convince myself you could not be as sweet and beautiful as I remember.’

‘But when I see you, I fall in love with you all over again. Does that seem strange to you? It doesn’t to me. Goodbye darling. Until tomorrow Jimmy.’

Jimmy Carter sat in the front row as his daughter spoke. He arrived at the service in a wheelchair and underneath a blanket bearing Rosalynn’s face.

He was joined by his family and alongside all the living first ladies – Melania Trump, Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, and Jill Biden – along President Joe Biden and Bill Clinton.

After the public mourning, Rosalynn’s funeral service on Wednesday will take place at the Maranatha Baptist Church where she and her husband worshipped. 

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After the service, the hearse will take her through the town where she grew up, past the church where she married Jimmy, and to what locals call ‘the Carter compound,’ the property that includes the Carters’ one-story ranch house, the pond where she fished, and the security outposts for the Secret Service agents who protected her for 47 years.

The two-bedroom, one-story ranch house was built by Jimmy Carter and is worth about $240,000. 

She is not the first first lady to be buried at home: Rachel Jackson and Eleanor Roosevelt are buried in their gardens.

The Carters decamped to their modest Georgia home after they left the White House in January 1981. But it’s not the first time they moved back to their hometown.

Jimmy Carter decided to leave the Navy – which included a posting in Hawaii – to return to the family peanut farm in Plains, which angered Rosalynn, according to Carter family lore.

‘That family story is that they rode in the car from Connecticut to Plains, Georgia and when Mom had something to say to Dad, she would say, ‘Jack, would you tell your father…,’ said James Earl ‘Chip’ Carter III, telling the story during a tribute to his late mother Tuesday at a memorial service in Atlanta. 

People watch the motorcade as it moves to Maranatha Baptist Church where the funeral service for former first lady Rosalynn Carter will be held

People watch the motorcade as it moves to Maranatha Baptist Church where the funeral service for former first lady Rosalynn Carter will be held

Onlookers in Georgia hold signs for Rosalynn Carter

Onlookers in Georgia hold signs for Rosalynn Carter

Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter embraces his wife Rosalynn after receiving the final news of his victory in the 1976 presidential election

Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter embraces his wife Rosalynn after receiving the final news of his victory in the 1976 presidential election

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter celebrating Christmas at their Georgia house in December 1978

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter celebrating Christmas at their Georgia house in December 1978

A makeshift memorial for former first lady Rosalynn Carter is displayed near Main St. of Plains

A makeshift memorial for former first lady Rosalynn Carter is displayed near Main St. of Plains

Maranatha Baptist Church, where the private funeral service for former first lady Rosalynn Carter will be held on Wednesday

Maranatha Baptist Church, where the private funeral service for former first lady Rosalynn Carter will be held on Wednesday

Former President Jimmy Carter has a blanket with his wife Rosalynn's picture on it

Former President Jimmy Carter has a blanket with his wife Rosalynn’s picture on it

James "Chip" Carter kisses the head of his father, former US President Jimmy Carter, during a tribute service for Rosalynn Carter

James ‘Chip’ Carter kisses the head of his father, former US President Jimmy Carter, during a tribute service for Rosalynn Carter

Melania Trump arrives for the funeral service

Melania Trump arrives for the funeral service

Melania Trump and her fellow former first ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, and Hillary Clinton

Melania Trump and her fellow former first ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, and Hillary Clinton

Amy Carter with her father Jimmy Carter

Amy Carter with her father Jimmy Carter

At Tuesday’s service, Rosalynn was feted by the people who knew her best: her children and grandchildren.  

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Jason Carter, a Carter grandson, said of Rosalynn Carter: ‘My grandmother doesn’t need a eulogy, her life was a sermon.’

He talked about how Rosalynn was like all other grandmothers, giving her grandkids a $20 on their birthday and ‘almost all of her recipes call for mayonnaise.’

‘She was born just a few years after women got the right to vote in this small town in the south where people were still plowing their fields behind mules,’ he said.

‘She shaped our national policy she faced down dictators herself on issues of human rights. She built the Carter Center from an idea into a powerhouse human rights.’

He praised her global humanitarian missions, such as her work to eradicate guinea worm, pointing out the world has gone from 3.5 million cases a year to less than a dozen.

‘We’re in the last mile because she could see far and she kept going. She was not afraid of these long journeys,’ he said.

Jimmy Carter at Rossalyn's memorial service

Jimmy Carter at Rossalyn’s memorial service

The Carters’ son James said of the former first lady: ‘My mother was the glue that held our family together through the ups and downs and thick and thin of our family’s politics.’

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James told stories of his family’s adventures in politics and the good humor his mother displayed during the tough times. 

He credited his mother for getting him into rehab for his drug and alcohol addiction.

‘She saved my life,’ he said.

And he concluded with: ‘My mother, Rosalynn Carter was the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met. And pretty to look at too.’

Jimmy Carter sat in the first row with his sons, John William ‘Jack’ Carter, James Earl ‘Chip’ Carter III and Donnel Jeffrey ‘Jeff’ Carter and his daughter, Amy Lynn Carter, during the service. 

Amy was seen holding her father’s hand during a performance of ‘Morning Has Broken’ by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chamber Chorus.

Next to the family in the front row were the president, first lady, Bill Clinton and the former first ladies.  

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During her eulogy, journalist Judy Woodruff greeted the front row by name and said:  ‘Rosalynn Carter would be so pleased to see she brought all of you together on this day.’ 

Her comment was met with laughter and applause. 

Jason Carter, the Carters’ grandson, also paid tribute to the leaders in attendance, saying ‘Secretary Clinton and Dr. Biden – we also welcome your lovely husbands.’

The crowd roared in return. 

Also during the service, country music legendary couple Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood performed John Lennon’s ‘Imagine.’ The couple became close to the Carters through their work with Habitat for Humanity.

Tony Lowden, the Carters’ pastor, said Rosalynn would have wanted to thank the Secret Service, who guarded her for 46 years. 

‘For 46 years they made sure she got home safe. I want to tell each and every one of them, she would tell you, ‘Thank you. You got me home safe,’ he said.

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Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife former first lady Rosalynn Carter sit together during a reception to celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary on July 10, 2021

Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife former first lady Rosalynn Carter sit together during a reception to celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary on July 10, 2021

Amy Carter choked back tears as she read a letter her father wrote to her mother while he was in the Navy 75 years ago

Amy Carter choked back tears as she read a letter her father wrote to her mother while he was in the Navy 75 years ago

'She was born just a few years after women got the right to vote in this small town in the south where people were still plowing their fields behind mules,' Jason Carter said of his grandmother

‘She was born just a few years after women got the right to vote in this small town in the south where people were still plowing their fields behind mules,’ Jason Carter said of his grandmother

The casket of former first lady Rosalynn Carter is carried out of Glenn Memorial Church after her tribute service

The casket of former first lady Rosalynn Carter is carried out of Glenn Memorial Church after her tribute service

Former President Jimmy Carter arrives for his late wife's service

Former President Jimmy Carter arrives for his late wife’s service

Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood perform "Imagine" at the service

Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood perform ‘Imagine’ at the service

Carter family members walk as the casket of former first lady Rosalynn Carter arrives at Glenn Memorial Church at Emory University

Carter family members walk as the casket of former first lady Rosalynn Carter arrives at Glenn Memorial Church at Emory University

The casket of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter is carried into the Glenn Memorial Church

The casket of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter is carried into the Glenn Memorial Church

The casket of former first lady Rosalynn Carter, arrives inside Glenn Memorial Church

The casket of former first lady Rosalynn Carter, arrives inside Glenn Memorial Church

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive in Georgia

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive in Georgia

Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff sat in the second row behind Melania Trump at the service. 

Georgia’s Senators, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, were also in attendance as was Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. 

Carter was with his wife of 77 years when she died. They are the longest-married presidential couple in U.S. history.

Source: Daily Mail

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