Hillary Clinton’s Mother, Dorothy Rodham, Dies at Age 92

Image credit: Barbara Kinney

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s mother, Dorothy Howell Rodham, died Tuesday morning, shortly after midnight. She was 92.

Clinton canceled trips to London and Turkey Monday in order to stay by her sick mother’s side in Washington, D.C., and was with her mother when she died.

“She was a warm, generous and strong woman,” the Clinton family said in a statement. “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.”


Rodham is survived by her three children and four grandchildren.

Despite her daughter’s public life, Rodham stayed largely out of the spotlight, granting only one televised interview, which aired on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 2004. She last appeared in public for her granddaughter Chelsea Clinton’s 2010 wedding to Marc Mezvinsky.

When asked during her 2007 presidential bid who was her greatest inspiration, Clinton cited her mother.

“More personally, 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,” Clinton said during a Democratic primary debate.

Clinton’s daughter Chelsea, also cited Rodham as her “inspiration,” saying in a recent  interview with Yahoo! News that she tried to talk to her grandmother every day.

“My grandmother has had a remarkable life and overcame challenges when she was a child that I cannot even imagine,” Clinton said. “And her determination to build a better life for her children and then sort of that determination that my mother and my father then had to build a better life for me is something that I feel elevated by.”

In her autobiography, “Living History,” Hillary Clinton wrote that her mother was “essentially abandoned” by her grandmother as a young girl. Rodham was sent to live with her grandparents at the age of 8, and left home at 14 to work as a nanny. After marrying Hugh Rodham, a traveling salesman, in 1942, Rodham became a stay-at-home mom. Clinton would later describe  her as a “classic homemaker.”

“Her story was a quintessentially American one, largely because she wrote it herself,” the Clinton family said in Tuesday’s statement. “She overcame abandonment and hardship as a young girl to become the remarkable woman she was.”

Rodham, who has lived with Bill and Hillary Clinton outside  Washington since 2006, fell ill Monday night. She died at Georgetown University Hospital, surrounded by family, according to the Clinton family’s statement.