Rosalynn Carter has been memorialised with classical music and beloved hymns, some of her favourite Biblical passages, and a rare gathering of all living US first ladies and multiple presidents, including her 99-year-old husband Jimmy Carter in the front row.
The tribute service on Tuesday at Glenn Memorial Church in Atlanta marked the second day of a three-day schedule of public events celebrating the former first lady and global humanitarian who died on November 19 at home in Plains, Georgia aged 96.
"My mother was the glue that held our family together through the ups and downs and thicks and thins of our family's politics," Chip Carter, her son, said as the service began.
The former president, who is 10 months into home hospice care and hadn't been seen in public since September, watched from his wheelchair, reclined a bit with his legs up and covered by a blanket, with his daughter Amy holding his hand.
He sat flanked by his other three children -- Jeff to his left, Chip and Jack to his right.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden, their longtime friends, were among the dignitaries. Former president Bill Clinton and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, along with former first ladies Melania Trump, Michelle Obama and Laura Bush, paid their respects, as did Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff.
Georgia's senators and Governor Brian Kemp joined more than 1000 people in the sanctuary. Former presidents Donald Trump, Barack Obama and George W Bush were invited but did not attend.
The service reflected Rosalynn Carter's status as a global figure while emphasising her more private profile as a family matriarch who preferred a simple life and held a deep religious faith.
The pews filled with political power players, but front and centre were her children and dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren -- all surrounding Jimmy Carter, who grieved not as a former president, but as her 99-year-old partner of 77 years.
Whether Jimmy Carter would participate was a day-by-day question. It was his first public appearance since September, when he and Rosalynn Carter rode together in the Plains Peanut Festival parade, visible only through open windows in a Secret Service vehicle. Jimmy Carter, who was with his wife during her final hours, did not appear publicly during any part of a public motorcade through and wreath-laying ceremony on Monday at Rosalynn Carter's alma mater, Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus.
Praised for a half-century of advocacy for better mental health care in America and reducing stigmas attached to mental illness, Rosalynn Carter brought attention to the tens of millions of people who work as unpaid caregivers in US households, and was acclaimed for how integral she was to her husband's political rise and in his terms as Georgia's governor and the 39th president.
Biden, who plans to eulogise Jimmy Carter at his state funeral when the time comes, is indisputably the friendliest ally Carter has had in the Oval Office since leaving Washington in 1981.
Rosalynn Carter's funeral will take place on Wednesday in Plains, with an invitation-only service at Maranatha Baptist Church, where the Carters have been members since returning to Georgia after his presidency.
She will be buried after a private graveside service on a plot the couple will share, visible from the front porch of the home they built before Jimmy Carter's first political campaign in 1962.
Australian Associated Press