‘Our first lady’: Plains mourning the loss of ‘ray of light’ Rosalynn Carter

She spent most of her life in Plains, Georgia.
Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 7:23 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PLAINS, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - On Monday, the town of Plains woke up without their matriarch.

“She was our first lady. Even before she became the first lady of the country. She was our first lady,” said Linda Campbell, a Plains native.

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter died on Sunday at 2:10 p.m. at her Plains home.

She was surrounded by family, according to The Carter Center.

RELATED: Rosalynn Carter to lie in repose, will be laid to rest next week

“It’s very bittersweet. She’s in a better place right now. She’s not suffering, so that is very good. The world has to learn to live without that ray of hope. So it’s a sad day,” said Jill Stuckey, long-time friend of the Carters and superintendent of the Jimmy Carter National Historic Park.

Stuckey said she has hosted both the first lady and former President Jimmy Carter at her home for the last 15 years for dinners.

Stuckey now helps run the Plains High School Visitors Center, allowing members of the public to walk the halls where Rosalynn and Jimmy went to school from first to eleventh grades.

“She clearly took what she learned here and ran. She ran all right. And she took Jimmy with her,” said Stuckey.

On Monday, in many ways, Plains just moved on like any other Monday. Workers moved through Buffalo Peanut Company, a handful of visitors bustled through the quaint downtown and volunteers hung Christmas lights outside the town square.

“We will survive. We will go on,” said Campbell, who was decorating as part of the Plains Lions Club.

On Saturday, the town will host its annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Campbell, who said she once received a book from the former first lady, said she’ll always remember her intentional generosity.

“She was elegant with kindness,” said Campbell.

Outside of a few small events, the town will remain quiet through the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

On Monday, there will be a wreath-laying ceremony at Georgia Southwestern State University.

There will be a funeral for Rosalynn on Wednesday at Maranatha Baptist Church, where the Carters are long-time members.

“As a member of Maranatha, Mrs. Carter has selflessly served her congregation and her community as a Sunday school teacher, a deacon, and the founder of the church’s food ministry, a monthly food distribution that now includes volunteers from across the community serving thousands of pounds of food to hundreds of local families on the third Saturday of each month,” the church said in a posted statement on its website.

The service is open to family and invited family.

Rosalynn will be laid to rest on her family property in Plains.

Atlanta News First and Atlanta News First+ provide you with the latest news, headlines and insights as we look at the life and accomplishments of Georgia’s favorite couple. Download our Atlanta News First app for the latest political news and information.