Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pat Nixon was born today

Thelma Catherine Ryan "Pat" Nixon (March 16, 1912 – June 22, 1993) was the wife of former President Richard Nixon and the First Lady of the United States from 1969 to 1974. She was commonly known as Pat Nixon.

Thelma Catherine Ryan was born in the small mining town of Ely, Nevada, the day before St. Patrick's Day. "She began life, she suspects, in a tent", a profile observed, "and seems to have spent the years of her youth getting out of it." Her father, William M. Ryan, Sr., was a sailor, gold miner, and truck farmer of Irish descent. Her mother, Katherine Halberstadt, was a German immigrant.

Pat was a nickname given to her by her father, referring to her birthdate and Irish ancestry. Upon enrolling in college in 1931, she dropped her first name of Thelma, replacing it with Pat and occasionally rendering it as Patricia, the name inscribed on her tombstone; the name change, however, was not a legal action, merely one of preference.

Learn more with Julie Nixon Eisenhower's book "Pat Nixon:The Untold Story"

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