NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — While Rosalynn Carter’s national legacy was featured on the national stage while she served as the White House’s first lady, her life story also includes time in New London.
The couple’s third son, Donnel Jeffery “Jeff” Carter, was born in 1952 while former president Jimmy Carter was stationed in New London. From there, they moved to Hawaii, and then San Diego after the start of the Korean War, before returning to New London a few months later.
Rosalynn Carter died on Sunday afternoon at her Georgia home at the age of 96, two days after entering hospice.
“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” Jimmy Carter said in a written 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.”
That support was strong during her husband’s Navy service, which brought him to Connecticut. It was considered their first “real home,” according to the National Park Service. While in Connecticut, they also took Spanish and art classes.
On the national level, she was privately referred to as “co-president” by her husband’s aids and “Steel Magnolia” by the press. She was also known for sitting in on Cabinet meetings, sharing her opinions on issues and representing the president on trips. Even after leaving Washington, she continued to serve as an advocate for mental health and dementia, which she was diagnosed with near the end of her life.