- Written by Matt Murphy
- BBC News, Washington
Former President Jimmy Carter attended a memorial service for his wife Rosalyn in Atlanta on Tuesday, along with his successor Joe Biden and Bill Clinton.
Carter, 99 and in hospice care, arrived at the church in a wheelchair wearing a dark suit. He is not expected to speak.
First lady Jill Biden and her four living predecessors also attended the service, including several other senior U.S. politicians.
Mrs. Carter passed away this month at the age of 96.
She was diagnosed with dementia in May and entered hospice care in Georgia just days before her death.
Her 77-year marriage to Carter, who served in the White House from 1977 to 1981, is the longest of any first couple.
A ceremony honoring Mrs. Carter’s life and legacy began Monday as her body was transported by motorcade from her home in the small town of Plains to Atlanta.
The procession made several short stops along the way, including at her alma mater, Georgia Southwestern State University, where officials laid flowers at a statue dedicated to her.
On Tuesday, her motorcade arrived at Emory University’s Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church for a memorial service just after 1:20 p.m. local time (18:20 GMT).
All four living first ladies have attended the service: Melania Trump, Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton. However, former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama did not attend.
Mrs. Clinton and Mrs. Obama visited Georgia on Air Force One with President Biden.
Vice President Kamala Harris, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Senators Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock and Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens also attended.
It was initially unclear whether President Carter, who has been receiving hospice care since February, would attend. He had health problems, including melanoma that had spread to his liver and brain.
However, the Carter Center told US media on Tuesday morning that he plans to attend all services. He is joined by all four of their children and 11 living grandchildren.
“She was the glue that held our family together through the ups and downs and ups and downs of politics in our family,” her son Chip Carter said at the start of the service.
“They gave us a great example of how couples should interact. My mother, Rosalynn Carter, was a wonderful woman and beautiful to look at.”
Kathryn Cade, a longtime aide to Mrs. Carter, praised the former first lady’s “boundless” passion for helping those less fortunate.
The ceremony will feature Mrs. Carter’s favorite Bible verses and live performances by musicians Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood. The two are friends of the Carter family and have worked together on nonprofit Habitat for Humanity projects.
A private funeral service will be held for family and close friends Wednesday morning at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains.