The late former first lady Rosalynn Carter left her mark around the world, including on Long Island over the course of several visits.
Carter’s death at the age of 96 was announced Sunday evening following reports that she was placed in hospice care on Friday.
Known as one of her husband’s closest advisers, she campaigned all over the country for Jimmy Carter to become the 39th president of the United States, including in East Meadow in 1976.
At a luncheon at Eisenhower Park with a group of about 600 senior citizens, Rosalynn Carter spoke about knowing the “problems of the elderly first hand," Newsday reported. She touched on an incident where her 70-year-old mother Allie Smith underwent a traumatic period of adjustment when she had to retire from her postal service job, before becoming the family babysitter during the presidential campaign.
“My opinion is that your problems are urgent,” she told the crowd.
Just two years later and during her husband’s presidential term, she sat down with Newsday for an interview.
When asked how she saw herself, Carter replied: “Well, I try to do whatever possible to make my husband look good. But I have things I’m interested in, too.”
Carter also spoke in the interview about the importance of mental health, one of her chief lifelong causes.
“And people don’t realize, I think that those who write the articles about me, don’t realize how many families are touched, almost every family, by mental affliction, if not immediate family, then by a friend or relative," she told Newsday.
In 1980, during the course of Jimmy Carter's Democratic primary fight against Sen. Edward Kennedy, she headlined a fundraiser in Hauppauge. Rosalynn Carter received a “cordial reception" from about 800 Suffolk Democrats, Newsday reported.
Four years later, Rosalynn Carter would return to Long Island, but for a personal reason. This time, she was at the Riverhead department store Caldor, to promote her autobiography “First Lady From Plains.” On that day in June 1984, she sold about 385 books and signed hundreds of autographs, according to Newsday.
“I like Riverhead. They buy books!” she said before leaving the store.
Meena Bose, director of Hofstra University's Peter S. Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency, said on Sunday that Rosalynn Carter will be remembered “as a pioneering first lady, who was very much a partner with her husband throughout his life and political career.”
So it's only fitting that in 1990, she and the former president went together to Hofstra University for a retrospective on his presidency.