Pat Nixon Facts

Pat Nixon Facts
Pat Nixon was the wife and First Lady of thirty-seventh President of the United States of America, Richard M. Nixon, from 1969 to 1974. Pat was one of the first wives to take a very active role in her husband's political campaigns, helping the often media awkward Nixon's rise through the political ladder from U.S. Congressman, to U.S. Senator, and eventually to Vice President and President. She was also quite active during her husband's presidency, as she was one of the First Ladies to travel extensively in an official capacity. Unfortunately, Nixon's Watergate scandal hurt Pat's image somewhat in the 1970s, although she has been viewed more positively in history than her husband. Pat Nixon was born Thelma Catherine Ryan on March 16, 1912 in Ely, Nevada to William and Katherine Ryan. Her family moved to southern California not long after she was born and tragically, both of her parents died when she was a child, leaving her to grow up quickly and to be raised by her older siblings. She attended and graduated from the University of Southern California in 1937 and worked a variety of jobs, including film extra and teacher, before meeting and later marrying Richard Nixon in 1940. The couple would have two daughters together and remain married until death.
Interesting Pat Nixon Facts:
Pat helped Richard in his political ascent by research his opponents. Richard's first political victory was in California's 12th congressional district in 1946, which was/is essentially the city of San Francisco. California was much more conservative in the 1940s and '50s, which allowed Nixon to become one of the more powerful Republicans in the state at the time.
Pat was a nicknamed she acquired as a child.
Nixon's presidency came at a time when the United States was going through immense change and turmoil. One of Pat's early initiatives as First Lady was to promote volunteerism, as she believed that would be a way to bring the divided country back together.
She played a major role in modernizing the White House tour for visitors, overseeing the production of tour pamphlets into several different languages. She also met with many tour groups.
Pat Nixon has been portrayed in three films: by Judy Allen in the 1995 film, Nixon; by Patricia McCormick in the 2008 film Frost/Nixon; and by Nicole Sullivan in the 2009 film Black Dynamite.
Pat supported her husband throughout the Watergate scandal and believed he was innocent. When Richard revealed that he was going to resign as a result of the scandal, Pat initially opposed him and instead urged him to fight the charges.
She was the first First Lady to travel to China and the Soviet Union in an official capacity. The premier of China gave two giant pandas as a gift to the United States because he was so impressed with her personality, which began a tradition of the Chinese loaning pandas to American zoos.
Pat Nixon was a lifelong smoker, which contributed to many health ailments later in her life.
Pat Nixon died on June 22, 1993 at her Park Ridge, New Jersey home at the age of eighty-one. She was interred at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yora Linda, California.


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