Presidential Wives: The Life Of Pat Nixon

Pat Nixon was a loving and loyal wife through good times, bad times and the worst of times. Information on her experiences as first lady.

One day after arriving home from the mines, Thelma Louise's father nicknamed her "Pat". Little did the family know at the time that Pat was to become this First Lady's most notable name until the very end of her days.

Thelma Louise Ryan was born in Ely, Nevada, to William and Kate Ryan, on March 16, 1912.

Early in life, Pat Ryan experienced grief, resulting from the death of her mother. Pat was only thirteen years old when her mother died. During Pat's eighteenth year, her dad died. At that time she began keeping the house going for her two brothers. Pat saved money from a variety of part time jobs, and finally entered the University of Southern California. Becoming an excellent student, Pat graduated cum laude, in 1937.

In Whittier, California, Pat Ryan taught high school. It was during this period that she met Richard Nixon. Nixon was beginning a law practice. Pat and Richard met at a Little Theatre group. Pat Ryan soon married, and became the wife of Richard M. Nixon, on June 21, 1940.

Dick Nixon ran for the 12th Congressional seat from California, immediately at the end of World War II. Pat Nixon's heart did not accompany her into the political arena, so any campaigning done for her husband was performed merely out of duty. She loathed being in the midst of crowds. Pat Nixon tried relentlessly to enjoy the political life. She found it extremely difficult to do so. However, Pat Nixon was by her husband's side at every new turn, and there were many.

Richard Nixon was elected to the House, the Senate, and then he became the Vice President of the United States, under President Dwight Eisenhower. During the pressures of her husband's political offices, Pat Nixon managed to raise two daughters, Tricia and Julie. Pat Nixon eventually managed to discover little enjoyment in being the wife of the Vice President. However, she hoped Nixon's political career would end there. She had no such luck.

Dick Nixon, a man with a mind of his own, decided to run for President against John F. Kennedy. By a very small margin, Nixon was defeated by Kennedy. This defeat did not upset Richard Nixon's wife, Pat. In fact, she was relieved that they return to enjoy those wonders close to her heart, such as family and friends.

Pat Nixon's peace and rest was brief. Richard Nixon decided to run for governor of California, but he was defeated in the race. The Nixon family was out of the limelight again, or so Pat thought. They moved to New York. Pat Nixon found herself being a staunch supporter of Dick Nixon in the 1968 Presidential race.

Pat Nixon began getting involved in various activities, and encouraged volunteer service. Almost before she realized it, Mrs. Nixon started craving being hostess to foreign dignitaries and celebrities from all over world. Pat Nixon had similar traits to those of Jacqueline Kennedy, when entertaining. Mrs. Nixon had a knack in keeping dinners and receptions at the White House from becoming stuffy.

A terrible tragedy hit home when the Watergate scandal was publicized. Pat Nixon never stepped from the side of President Nixon under the worst of circumstances. She practically became a telephone answering service as the calls came into the White House from around the world.

Pat Nixon was a source of strength and comfort for her husband, as she handled matters with calmness and poise.

In the end when President Nixon resigned from the role of President, Pat Nixon suffered grief. However, she was one to suffer in private. This First Lady handled her life in a remarkable and calm fashion, under the worst of circumstances. Pat Nixon gave God the credit for moving her through some dreadful experiences in her life. She accredited God for giving her the ability to handle situations that would shatter many.

Pat Nixon did not get her way often, but she received tremendous satisfaction in helping others. On countless occasions, she proved herself as an honest, loving and loyal lady.

On June 22, 1993, Pat Nixon, a once First Lady of the United States died. She was buried at the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda, California. Her husband, Richard Nixon, was buried next to her in less than a year's time.

Pat Nixon and her husband, President Richard Nixon, lived through much controversy in our land. May they rest in peace.

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