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Pat and Richard Nixon Marriage Profile

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Richard and Pat Nixon in 1969

With Pat Nixon holding the Bible, President-elect Richard Nixon takes the oath of office as he is sworn in as the 37th President of the US by Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren during the inauguration ceremony on January 20, 1969 in D.C.

Photo: Pictorial Parade / Getty Images
Richard (Dick) Nixon is known as the first U.S. President to resign (1974) and Pat Nixon is known as a First Lady who disliked politics.

Olivia Anastasiadis, supervisory museum curator of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, described Dick Nixon's feelings for Pat as "He loved her, he was absolutely enthralled by her and that's all he thought about."

Yet their marriage and relationship with each other later changed. "The saddest modern presidential story may well be that of the Nixons. Richard Nixon married the girl he thought he loved and then abandoned her for his real passion: politics ... Instead, he turned his back on Pat, and they both suffered from incurable loneliness and self fulfilling paranoia."
Source: Kati Marton: Hidden Power: Presidential Marriages That Shaped Our History. 2001. pg. 7.

Born:

Richard Milhous Nixon: January 9, 1913 in Yorba Linda, California.

Thelma (Pat) Catherine Ryan: March 16, 1912 in Ely, Nevada.

Died:

Richard: At the age of 81, Richard Nixon died on April 22, 1994 in New York, New York.

Pat: Pat died at the age of 81 on June 22, 1993 in Park Ridge, New Jersey. Although she had a stroke in July, 1976 that left her partly paralyzed, Pat died from lung cancer and was buried at the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda, California.

How Pat and Dick Met:

Richard and Pat met in Whittier, California when they both auditioned for a community theater production of The Dark Tower.
About meeting one another: "Pat tells it this way -- Dick fell in love with her on the night of the tryouts and told her, that very night, that he was going to marry her."
Source: Alice E. Anderson, Hadley V. Baxendale. Behind Every Successful President: The Hidden Power and Influence of America's First Ladies. 1992. pg. 111.

Dick proposed to Pat on San Clemente Beach. Since he didn't have a ring when he proposed, he gave it to her later in a basket full of flowers. They later retired to their home on that beach.

The Nixon Love Letters:

Although some may say the love letters written by Dick Nixon are a bit too rambing and too mushy, he did some things right when he wrote love letters to Pat. He used pen and paper, didn't copy something from someone else, and shared his passion and desire. Pat's letters to Dick are "a bit lighter, humorous."
Dick: "Every day and every night I want to see you and be with you. Yet I have no feeling of selfish ownership or jealousy," he writes in one undated letter. "Let's go for a long ride Sunday; let's go to the mountains weekends; let's read books in front of fires; most of all, let's really grow together and find the happiness we know is ours."
Source: Gillian Flaccus. Nixon Love Letters Reveal Sensitive Side of Former President." HuffingtonPost.com. 3/12/2012.
Dick: "Somehow on Tuesday there was something electric in the usually almost stifling air in Whittier. And now I know. An Irish gypsy who radiates all that is happy and beautiful was there. She left behind her a note addressed to a struggling barrister who looks from a window and dreams. And in that note he found sunshine and flowers, and a great spirit which only great ladies can inspire. Someday let me see you again? In September? Maybe?"
Source: Rachel Rickard Straus. "Richard Nixon's Love Letters Reveal Sensitive Side." DailyMail.co.uk. 3/12/2012.

Wedding Date and Information:

Richard and Pat were married on June 21, 1940 in Riverside, California at the Mission Inn wedding chapel in a small Quaker service.

Children:

Pat and Richard had two daughters.
  • Patricia (Tricia) Nixon: Born in 1946. Patricia married Edward Cox in the Rose Garden of the White House on June 12, 1971.
  • Julie Nixon: Born in 1948. Julie married the grandson of Eisenhower, David Eisenhower, in 1968.

Occupations:

Richard: 37th President of the U.S., businessman, lawyer, politican.

Pat: High school teacher.

Quotes About the Marriage of Richard and Pat Nixon:

About the impact of politics on their marriage: "Political life, Pat had learned from the start, imposes unpleasant constraints. Pat had not chosen the limits to her freedom, the curbs on her energetic spontaneity. Nor did she expect chilliness in her relationship with Dick -- he seemed casually to accept it as the affordable price to be paid for fame and power. The intrusion of politics between herself and Dick was, perhaps, the worst disappointment of all. Pat had learned not from Dick himself but by watching TV in the mid-1950s that her husband had accepted the nomination to run for the Vice Presidency. So unhappy was she with her unchosen lot, Pat required and received from Dick a written promise that he would not run again; but, as with other pledges, it was forgotten."
Source: Alice E. Anderson, Hadley V. Baxendale. Behind Every Successful President: The Hidden Power and Influence of America's First Ladies. 1992. pgs. 116-117.

Concerning marriage issues: "After they had reached the White House, close associates worried that the consummate politician was too distant a husband. He never talked about her to others, unless he was making political mileage; he would ignore her in public and leave her unattended in situations requiring his attentions. If he loved her, he did not let it show. White House help gossiped that they had overheard Pat charge Dick: "You have ruined my life."
Source: Alice E. Anderson, Hadley V. Baxendale. Behind Every Successful President: The Hidden Power and Influence of America's First Ladies. 1992. pg. 117.

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