Jimmy Carter, 99, expected to attend service for late wife Rosalynn

By Maria Alejandra Cardona and Rich McKay

ATLANTA (Reuters) -Former President Jimmy Carter, who is 99 and in hospice care, is expected to attend a tribute service at a church in Atlanta on Tuesday for his late wife Rosalynn Carter, who died at age 96 on Nov. 19, his office said on Monday.

The body of the former U.S. first lady will lie in repose on Monday, giving Americans the chance to pay their respects to the woman her husband called “an extension of myself.”

U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, former President Bill Clinton and former first ladies Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama also are expected to attend Tuesday’s service.

Rosalynn Carter died shortly after entering hospice care at home in Plains, Georgia, alongside her husband, a Democrat who gave his wife a prominent voice during his presidency from 1977-1981 and supported her advocacy in the cause of mental health.

Family members joined with current and former members of her U.S. Secret Service security detail in a hearse motorcade on Monday morning to the Rosalynn Carter Health and Human Sciences Complex at Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus, Georgia, where wreaths were laid. Spectators in Plains waved U.S. flags as the motorcade passed by them.

A repose service is being held on Monday in the lobby of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, followed by an opportunity for members of the public to view the casket and pay their respects.

On Wednesday, Carter’s funeral will be held at the Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains before an internment at the family residence.

Carter and her husband were the longest-married U.S. presidential couple, having wed in 1946 when he was 21 and she was 18.

Since his single term as president ended, Jimmy Carter has lived more post-White House years than any president before him, and she played an instrumental role during those years, including as work for the Carter Center nonprofit and the Habitat for Humanity charity.

Her family disclosed in May that she had dementia. Jimmy Carter entered hospice care at home in February after deciding to decline additional medical intervention.

(Reporting by Maria Alejandra Cardona in Plains, Georgia, Rich McKay in Atlanta and Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Will Dunham)