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Ryan, Thelma Catherine

Born: 1912 AD
Died: 1993 AD
Nationality: American
Categories: First Ladies

1912 – Born on March 16th in Ely, Nevada. American first lady, the wife of Richard Nixon, 37th president of the United States, who espoused the cause of volunteerism during her husband’s term.

1930 – An orphan at 18, Pat worked at a bank to put herself through a year at Fullerton Junior College.

1932 – She was paid to drive an elderly couple from California to New York City, where she lived for two years, working as a secretary and as a hospital X-ray technician.

1937 – She supplemented her savings with a variety of jobs and enrolled as a merchandising major at the University of Southern California, where she earned a degree with honours.

1940 – She taught business courses at Whittier High School, where she joined an amateur theatre group and met a fellow thespian, lawyer Richard Nixon. The couple married on June 21st, at the Mission Inn in Riverside, California.

1946 – Pat participated in her husband’s successful run for Congress by doing research on his opponent and writing and distributing campaign literature.

1960 – Richard’s unsuccessful run for the presidency led to their temporary retirement in California, and Pat seemed glad to leave politics behind.  

1968 – When her husband was elected president, Pat Nixon took up the cause of volunteerism, urging people to donate their time and services to hospitals, schools, day care centres, and nursing homes.

1972-1974 – As first lady she traveled thousands of miles, speaking to school groups and representing her husband on visits to Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, and Liberia, and Venezuela and Brazil. Stoic and tireless, she once remarked, “I do or I die but I never cancel out”.

         – Richard Nixon was forced to resign as president for his involvement in the Watergate affair, and on August 9th, the Nixons retired, first to California and then to New Jersey.

1993 – Died on June 22nd in Park Ridge, New Jersey. She died of lung cancer at her New Jersey home and was buried at the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda, California.