WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter died on Sunday at age 96, in Plains, Georgia.

Many historians say Mrs. Carter elevated the role and duties of first lady, although her husband, former president Jimmy Carter, served just one term.

She’d been in declining health for several month suffering from dementia, according to the Carter Center.

The Carters had been married for 77 years.

“The best thing I ever had happen in my life is when she said she would marry me and did.”

As first lady she was often regarded as President Carter’s closest advisor.

Publicly, she championed causes important to her and set a new standard for what it meant to be a first lady.

 Unlike many first ladies before her, Mrs. Carter spoke out on controversial issues, represented her husband abroad, and attended cabinet meetings.

“Some people objected to her sitting in on cabinet meetings. They thought that was improper in some way. She didn’t say anything in the Cabinet meetings, but she, you know, wanted to be fully informed so that she could give her husband good advice,” said author and political analyst Jonathan Alter.

 After their time in Washington, Mrs. Carter was a constant presence at her husband’s side, advocating for causes like conflict resolution, public health efforts and affordable housing.

Mrs. Carter’s funeral is set for November 29th at the couples’ long-time church in Plains, Georgia.