NPS readies for funeral of former first lady Rosalynn Carter

By Rob Hotakainen | 11/20/2023 04:21 PM EST

She’ll be buried Nov. 29 in a family plot in Jimmy Carter National Historical Park, a park in the small town of Plains, Georgia, named after the nation’s 39th president.

The original home of Rosalynn Carter in Plains, Georgia.

The original home of Rosalynn Carter in Plains, Georgia. Carter, the former first lady and closest adviser to Jimmy Carter during his one term as U.S. president and their four decades thereafter as global humanitarians, died Sunday. She was 96. Mike Stewart/AP

Rosalynn Carter, the former first lady who died Sunday at the age of 96, will be buried next week at the national park in Georgia that bears her husband’s name.

The National Park Service said some areas of the Jimmy Carter National Historical Park in the small town of Plains, Georgia, may be closed in the days leading up to the burial.

NPS said Carter will be buried in a plot located at the family home, which is closed to the public but part of the park. The Carters were married for 77 years.


Jill Stuckey, a longtime friend of the Carters and the park’s superintendent, described the former first lady as “a devoted supporter of the park” who regularly attended events and forums and worked with NPS staff to both develop and grow the park, even helping plan exhibits that were unveiled in 2020.

Park officials said Carter liked to participate in the local Presidents Day observance and the town’s fall peanut festival, where she handed out certificates to schoolchildren. The Carters were also known to surprise visitors by greeting them at the Plains High School Visitor Center or other locations in the park.

Stuckey said the park’s employees were mourning Carter’s death.

“Rosalynn Carter was a staunch supporter of national parks, both as first lady and as a private citizen. … I and the entire staff of Jimmy Carter National Historical Park are deeply saddened by Mrs. Carter’s passing, but we celebrate her life and legacy and will continue to inspire and educate present and future generations by telling the stories of her life and impact on the global community,” Stuckey said.

The Carter Center released a three-day schedule of events to celebrate Rosalynn Carter’s life that will include a repose service at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta next Monday.

Her funeral will take place Nov. 29 at 11 a.m. at the Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, where Jimmy Carter taught Sunday school for years before giving it up in 2019.

After the funeral, the casket will be transferred to a hearse and taken to the Carter residence for a private interment.

The Carter Center said the public will be welcome to line the family motorcade route as it winds its way through part of the park, from the church to the residence.

The park, created by Congress in 1987, includes the Carter residence, Jimmy Carter’s boyhood home, the high school that both Carters attended and the railroad depot that served as the headquarters for Carter’s winning presidential campaign in 1976.

The park service and the town’s 700-plus residents have also been preparing for the death of Jimmy Carter, who turned 99 last month and is now the nation’s longest-living president.

Carter, who served one term as the nation’s 39th president from 1977 to 1981, has been undergoing hospice care since February after deciding that he would forgo any additional medical treatment for cancer.