Chicago Tribune – Dorothy Howell Rodham, the mother of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, has died at the age of 92.
“Her story was a quintessentially American one, largely because she wrote it herself,” the statement read. “She 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.”
The family plans a “private celebration of her life for family and friends,” according to statement.
Rodham and her husband, Hugh Rodham, had three children: Hillary Clinton and two younger brothers, Tony Rodham and Hugh Rodham Jr.
Hugh Rodham ran a small textile business in Chicago, making draperies for hotels and other clients. The Rodhams moved from Edgewater to Park Ridge when Clinton was 3.
Their neighborhood in Park Ridge was the kind of comfortable, self-contained suburban oasis where whites began flocking to raise their Baby Boom children. Hillary Clinton recalled playing pickup softball games in at the corner of Elm and Wisner streets, four manhole covers doubling as bases.
The Rodham family were regulars at the First United Methodist Church, four blocks north of their Wisner Street home.
Hugh Rodham was a die-hard conservative and drilled self-reliance and parsimony into his children. Dorothy Rodham was a far more compassionate soul. She was the survivor of a rotten childhood, and her divorced parents shipped her, at age 8, and a younger sister from Chicago to California on a transcontinental train trip alone, to live with relatives.
Clinton said her mother’s early life helped inspire Clinton’s later interest in children’s advocacy. Dorothy Rodham also preached the importance of keeping even the rockiest of marriages together.
“The most difficult decisions I have made in my life were to stay married to Bill and to run for the Senate from New York,” Clinton wrote in her 2003 memoir, “Living History.”
Hugh Rodham retired in 1970, and he and his wife moved from Park Ridge to Little Rock in 1987 to be close to their daughter and her family. Hugh Rodham died in 1993.