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Donald and Joyce Rumsfeld Marriage Profile


Photo: Dennis Brack-Pool / Getty Images

Donald and Joyce Rumsfeld in Washington, DC on February 26, 2006.

Photo: Dennis Brack-Pool / Getty Images
Married since 1954, Donald and Joyce Rumsfeld have supported one another through numerous moves and changes in their marriage journey with one another. Learn more about their marriage relationship.


Donald Henry Rumsfeld: July 9, 1932 in Chicago, Illinois.

Joyce Pierson: Billings, Montana.

How Donald and Joyce Met:

As high school students, Donald and Joyce met at New Treir High School in Winnetka, Illinois. Serious dating between the two started in their senior year.

They went to colleges at opposite ends of the country, but kept their relationship alive through the separation. Donald sent Joyce letters suggesting articles and books about politics that he thought she should read.

Marriage Proposal:

Donald proposed in the spring of 1954 after he graduated from college. According to the book, Rumsfeld: A Personal Portrait, "... he interrupted his breakfast, went over to Joyce's house, and asked her to marry him. Then, so legend has it, as soon as she said yes, he returned home where a college friend was awaiting him for lunch. "Not very classy," he laughs."
Source: Rumsfeld: A Personal Portrait. pg. 26.
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Wedding Date:

Donald and Joyce were married on December 27, 1954 in the Methodist church in Winnetka, Illinois.

Joyce wore a long, white, v-necked wedding gown.


Donald and Joyce have three children and several grandchildren.
  • Valerie Jeanne Rumsfeld Richard: Born in 1956. Valerie is a psychologist living in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
  • Marcy Kay Rumsfeld: Born in 1960. Marcy and her children live in Chicago.
  • Donald Nicholas (aka Nick) Rumsfeld: Born in 1967. Nick is an internet entrepreneur. He moved from Portland, Oregon with his fiancee to the family home in Taos, New Mexico.


In their first 12 1/2 years of marriage, Donald and Joyce moved more than 10 times. Throughout their marriage that number grew to around 30 moves.

Joyce and Donald lived in Oregon, North Carolina, Washington state, and California. They have a ranch in Taos, New Mexico, a home in a Washington D.C. neighborhood called Kalorama, and a weekend house in St. Michaels, Maryland.


Joyce: She helped found the Chicago Foundation for Education in 1985.

Donald: He has an extensive resume that includes serving in the U.S. Navy, Secretary of Defense, serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, investment banking, and U.S. Ambassador.


Donald has enjoyed wrestling since his high school days. He also enjoys skiing and roping cattle. "He and Joyce both ride, ski, hike, fish, and skate on the dairy farm pond. On New Year's Eve, the extended family gathers."
Source: Chicago Magazine

Quotes About Love and Marriage:

Joyce, when asked about staying married to Donald: "He travels a lot."
Source: Defense Link

Joyce, when Donald was upset about an article about him: "Go back to sleep, Don. It's tough to argue with."
Source: Defense Link

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