Hillary Clinton’s mother dies at 92

DOROTHY RODHAM, mother of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton’s mother-in-law, has died at the age of 92 after an illness.

The family said Rodham died surrounded by her family at a Washington hospital.

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.

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.

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, California. 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.

She met Hugh E Rodham, a native of Scranton, who had found work in Chicago as a travelling salesman. They courted for several years before marrying in 1942. .

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

Picture: Hillary Clinton with mother Dorothy Rodham in 2008. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

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