HOUSTON, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- The tribute service for deceased former first lady Rosalynn Carter was held on Tuesday in Atlanta, capital city of the U.S. state of Georgia.
Former President Jimmy Carter, 99, was in attendance at the Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church on the campus at the Emory University, a rare public appearance since he started receiving hospice care at home in February. He exited the church shortly after the casket and the motorcade departed.
"Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished," the former president said in a statement after his wife's passing on Nov. 19.
"She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me," the statement read.
During the memorial service, Amy Carter, the daughter of Jimmy Carter, read a letter her father wrote to her mother 75 years ago while he was in the Navy.
"While I'm away, I tried to convince myself that you really are not, could not be, as sweet and beautiful as I remember. But when I see you, I fall in love with you all over again. Does that seem strange to you? It doesn't to me," the letter said.
"Goodbye, darling. Until tomorrow, Jimmy," the letter ended.
Rosalynn Carter's grandson, Jason Carter, said at the memorial service that his grandma "was a rock for our family" and also an "adventurer, a voyager, a mountain climber."
Rosalynn Carter's most lasting individual legacy will be her efforts to diminish the stigma attached to people with mental illnesses and her fight for parity and access to mental health treatment, according to U.S. media reports.
Rosalynn Carter died at the age of 96 at their home in Plains, about 120 miles south of Atlanta, after a brief stay in hospice. Her funeral is scheduled for Wednesday in Plains.
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter were married 77 years and gave birth to four children. They wed in 1946 and became the longest-betrothed presidential couple in U.S. history.