National

Rosalyn Carter funeral: Jimmy Carter and all 5 living first ladies attend service

Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and all five living current and former first ladies — Jill Biden, Melania Trump, Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton — gathered at a memorial on Tuesday for former first lady Rosalynn Carter in Atlanta.

Carter was wheeled into the church in a wheelchair with a blanket wrapped around his legs and positioned in the front row.

Melania Trump was dressed in a gray coat, the other first ladies in dark blue or black attire. Former Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama did not attend the event, which was billed as a “tribute service” at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church on the Emory University campus.

Former PBS Newshour anchor Judy Woodruff, Rosalynn Carter and Jimmy Carter's daughter Amy and their grandson Jason Carter delivered eulogies.

Jason Carter began his by welcoming carter's the former first ladies and their "lovely husbands," drawing laughter.

The last time all of the living first ladies attended an event together was in 2018 at the funeral of former President George H.W. Bush at the Washington National Cathedral. All living current and former presidents and first ladies, including Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter and the Trumps, attended the service.

Before that, in 2007, all current and former presidents and first ladies at that time, including George H.W. Bush, Barbara Bush, the Carters and Nancy Reagan, attended the funeral of former President Gerald Ford in Washington.

Rosalynn Carter died last week at 96. She had entered home hospice care in Plains, Ga., after being diagnosed with dementia.

Jimmy Carter, the 39th and longest-living president in American history, turned 99 on Oct. 1. In February, he decided to forgo further medical treatment for an undisclosed illness and entered hospice care at his home.

The Carters made their last public appearance in September, when they attended the Plains Peanut Festival a week before Jimmy Carter's 99th birthday. The couple waved to parade attendees from the back of an SUV.

Following Tuesday’s memorial service in Atlanta, Rosalynn Carter will be taken back to Plains for a private funeral on Wednesday at Maranatha Baptist Church, the couple's home church. From there the casket will then be transferred to a hearse and depart for private interment at the Carter family residence. Jimmy Carter plans to be buried next to her.

Recommended reading

USA Today:Plains, Ga. remembers former first lady Rosalynn Carter: The 'Steel Magnolia'

CNN: Hundreds pay respects to Rosalynn Carter as she lies in repose in Atlanta

The Hill:What to know about Rosalynn Carter's tribute service

USA Today:How Rosalynn Carter fought the 'shame' around mental illness

AFP:From Silvio Berlusconi to Tina Turner, here are some notable deaths of 2023