Dorothy Rodham

  • Born: June 4, 1919
  • Died: November 1, 2011
  • Location: Washington, District Of Columbia

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In this Dec. 7, 2007 file photo , then-Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., left, and her mother, Dorothy Rodham, attend a “Take Your Buddy to Caucus” event in Des Moines.

Mother of Hillary Rodham Clinton dies at 92

DOUGLASS K. DANIEL, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Dorothy Rodham, mother of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Bill Clinton's mother-in-law, died Tuesday at age 92 after an illness.

The family said Rodham died shortly after midnight, surrounded by her family at a Washington hospital. The secretary of state had cancelled a planned trip to London and Istanbul to be at her mother's side.

In a statement, the Clinton family hailed Rodham as a woman who "overcame abandonment and hardship as a young girl to become the remarkable woman she was — a warm, generous and strong woman; an intellectual; a woman who told a great joke and always got the joke; an extraordinary friend and, most of all, a loving wife, mother and grandmother."

President Barack Obama praised Rodham as a "remarkable person" who also was "strong, determined and gifted."

"For her to have been able to live the life that she did and to see her daughter succeed at the pinnacle of public service in this country I'm sure was deeply satisfying to her," Obama said after signing an executive order in the Oval Office. "My thoughts, Michelle's thoughts, the entire White House's thoughts go out to the entire Clinton family. I know that she will be remembered as somebody who helped make a difference in this country and this world."

Dorothy Rodham was a witness to her daughter's political victories and defeats. She avoided the spotlight and rarely gave interviews about herself or her daughter and son-in-law, the former president.

A notable exception was her daughter's 2008 bid for the Democratic nomination for president. She appeared with her daughter in primary states, particularly at events focusing on women's issues.

Clinton cited her mother in at least one ad during the campaign, saying that her mother had taught her to stand up for herself and to stand up for those who needed help.

As Clinton battled Barack Obama for the nomination in April 2008, Rodham joined her daughter and granddaughter at a campaign event at Haverford College, Pa. Then 88, Rodham didn't speak at the event, but Hillary Clinton noted that her mother lived with her and "always has a lot of great ideas about what we need to be doing," drawing chuckles from the audience.

When Clinton ended her campaign during a speech in June 2008 at Washington's National Building Museum, her mother watched from off stage and wiped a tear as Clinton conceded the nomination to Obama. The following February, Rodham was on hand as her daughter was sworn in as Obama's secretary of state.

Dorothy Howell Rodham was born in Chicago in 1919, the daughter of a city firefighter. In her autobiography, "Living History," Hillary Clinton described her mother's childhood as lonely and loveless.

The Howells shuttled Dorothy and her younger sister, Isabelle, among relatives and schools. She was 8 when her parents divorced in 1927 and she was sent with her sister to live with their paternal grandparents in Alhambra, Calif. Her grandmother could be cruel when not ignoring young Dorothy, Clinton wrote.

Rodham left her grandparents' home at 14 when she found room and board as a mother's helper to another family. After graduating from high school, she returned to Chicago on her mother's promise of helping to pay for a college education if she lived with her and her new husband. After that promise was unfulfilled, Rodham supported herself with a job in an office.

"I'm still amazed at how my mother emerged from her lonely early life as such an affectionate and levelheaded woman," Clinton wrote.

She met Hugh E. Rodham, a native of Scranton, Pa., who had found work in Chicago as a traveling salesman. They courted for several years before marrying in 1942. Besides their daughter, they raised two sons, Hugh and Tony.

Dorothy Rodham was a homemaker in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge but for years took a variety of college courses even though she never completed a degree. A Democrat, she was a counter to the conservative Republicanism of her husband, who became a successful businessman.

The Rodhams moved to Little Rock, Ark., in 1987, to be near their daughter and her husband, then the state's governor, and their granddaughter, Chelsea. Dorothy Rodham's husband died in 1993. A Washington Post profile in 2007 noted that she moved to Washington to live with her daughter's family after Hillary Clinton's election to the Senate in 2000.

In a debate during the 2008 campaign, Hillary Clinton called her mother her inspiration.

"I owe it to my mother, who never got a chance to go to college, who had a very difficult childhood, but who gave me a belief that I could do whatever I set my mind," she said.

The Clinton family plans a private memorial service. The family statement said any donations should be made to George Washington Hospital, where Rodham "received excellent care and made terrific friends over many years"; or to the Heifer Project (http://www.heifer.org/ ), her Christmas gift of choice in 2010.

Or, the statement said "to a local organization that helps neglected and mistreated children, a blight Dorothy was determined to remedy until her last day because she knew too well the pain too many children suffer."

___

Associated Press writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.


Condolence & Memory Journal

Candle

Hillary, so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you. Your a reflection of your mother, so I know she was a wonderful person.

Posted by Deborah Joan Chadwick - Fan   December 30, 2011

Candle

So sorry for the Clintons on their loss. Hillary is such a great inspiration to all women and Im sure one reason is because of her mother. I was born and raised and still live in Arkansas so to me Hillary and Bill are like family.

Posted by Laurie Davis    December 04, 2011

Candle

May God bless you and your family in the time of breavement, you are in my pray

Posted by Mrs. Hart-Aulderman    December 02, 2011

I am truly sorry for the loss of your mother my mother passed away in May and my heart aches for her, I will always miss her, and I know you feel the same way.

Posted by Linda Kelley Williams - West Chester, OH   December 02, 2011

Candle

My prayers are with you and your family. Your mother is with the angles washing over you and your love ones

Posted by Tina    December 02, 2011

Candle

Dear Secretary Clinton,
How blessed you were to have your mother as long as you did, she will always be with you in your heart and in spirt. Charles Sizemore and Daniel Thompson

Posted by Charles Sizemore - A Fellow American   December 01, 2011

Candle

My condolences to Hillary and her family for their loss.

Posted by Linda Scheider - Admirer and Supporter   December 01, 2011

Candle

Your mother lived a great life being proud of the woman she raised.
The trumpet surley hearlds her to rest in gods arms now!

Posted by Jayne m Engel - Hillary supporter   November 05, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. I am so sorry for the passing of your mother. May she REST IN PEACE.

Posted by Barbara J Phillips Tolbert - Columbus, GA   November 04, 2011

Candle

My deepest condolences to the Rodham family.

Posted by John V. Amodeo - admirer   November 04, 2011

Candle

She raised a good daughter.

Posted by Carol Olinger - Not realted   November 04, 2011

Candle

Rest in peace.

Posted by Deneen    November 03, 2011

Candle

Rest in peace!

Posted by Tabetha Estep Strauss - a stranger   November 02, 2011

Mrs. Clinton you embody many of the strengths that your mother had and instilled in you and which have also been passed onto Chelsea. Your mother must have been so proud of your Presidential run. I'm glad she was still with you to experience that wonderful time. Having lost my own mother this past March, I know the loss you feel. Your faith has taught you that your mother is whole, and strong again in death and also that you will be reunited with her one fine day.

Posted by Rev. Lorelei M. Bach - Trevose, PA - Hillary supporter   November 02, 2011

Candle

Hillary Clinton is a amazing lady.The fact she gives 100% to the people of the world.Thank You For All You Do.We are sadden to hear of your mom death.Our Love And Prayers Are With You And Family.God Comfort Will Be There.

Posted by Ester Yates - Citizen Of North Carolina   November 02, 2011


Default Album

In this May 1, 2008 file photo, Dorothy Rodham, the mother of Hillary Rodham Clinton applauds in Brownsburg, Ind. According to the Clinton family: Dorothy Rodham, Hillary Rodham Clinton's mother, has died at 92.
In this Dec. 7, 2007 file photo , then-Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., left, and her mother, Dorothy Rodham, attend a “Take Your Buddy to Caucus” event in Des Moines.
Then Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., center, speaks at a town hall meeting with daughter Chelsea, left, and mother Dorothy Rodham, right at Skydiver's Hangar and Lounge at the Winterset Municipal Airport in Winterset, Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2007.
Then Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., hugs her husband, former president Bill Clinton, as her mother Dorothy Rodham, left, waves to the crowd after Clinton makes her victory speech at her primary election night rally in Philadelphia, Tuesday, April 22, 2008.
In this April 22, 2008 file photo, former President Bill Clinton and his daughter, Chelsea, flank Dorothy Rodham, mother of then-Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., as she speaks at her Pennsylvania primary election night party in Philadelphia.
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., left, and her mother, Dorothy Rodham, right, listen as the senator's daughter, Chelsea, presents her mother's health care proposals during a campaign event in Brownsburg, Ind. Thursday, May 1, 2008.

Default Album

In this May 1, 2008 file photo, then-Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., right, helps her mother, Dorothy Rodham, walk up to the stage during a campaign event in Brownsburg, Ind. According to the Clinton family: Dorothy Rodham, Hillary Rodham Clinton's mother, has di
In a July 14, 1992 file photo, Hillary Clinton, right, and her mother Dorothy Rodham are shown in their New York hotel room. Dorothy Rodham died shortly after midnight on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011 in Washington, D.C. She was 92.
President Clinton walks with mother-in-law Dorothy Rodham as he de-boards Air Force One Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2000, at Westchester County Airport in White Plains, NY. Clinton is heading to New York for speeches, fundraisers, and to spend time with first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
In a Monday, April 21, 2008 file photo, Dorothy Rodham, mother of Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., listens to her daughter speak at a campaign rally in Scranton, Pa. Dorothy Rodham died shortly after midnight on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011 in Washington, D.C.
In a Saturday, June 7, 2008 file photo, Dorothy Rodham, mother of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., wipes away a tear as her daughter addresses supporters at the National Building Museum in Washington, and suspends her campaign for president.