Dorothy Howell Rodham, whose daughter is Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and whose son-in-law Bill Clinton was president of the United States, died Tuesday morning, the Clinton family announced. She was 92.
Born in Chicago on June 4, 1919, Rodham died shortly after midnight in Washington, surrounded by her family. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had canceled a trip to London and Istanbul, Turkey, to be with her mother.
"Her story was a quintessentially American one, largely because she wrote it herself," her family said in a statement emailed to reporters. "She overcame abandonment and hardship as a young girl to become the remarkable woman she was – a warm, generous and strong woman; an intellectual; a woman who told a great joke and always got the joke; an extraordinary friend and, most of all, a loving wife, mother and grandmother."
PHOTOS: Dorothy Rodham 1919-2011
In addition to her daughter and Bill Clinton, Rodham is survived by her sons and daughters-in-law, Hugh Rodham and Maria Rodham, and Tony Rodham and Megan Rodham; her grandchildren Chelsea Clinton and Chelsea's husband Marc Mezvinsky; Zachary Rodham; Fiona Rodham; and Simon Rodham, the family said.
The family said there will be a private celebration of her life for family and friends. In lieu of flowers, the family asked for donations to George Washington Hospital, where she "received excellent care and made terrific friends over many years; to the Heifer Project, her Christmas gift of choice in 2010 and an organization dear to her heart; or to a local organization meaningful to the giver that helps neglected and mistreated children."
Dorothy Rodham was the daughter Chicago firefighter Edwin John Howell Jr. and Della Murray, who divorced in 1927. The children were sent to live with paternal grandparents in Alhambra. Dorothy graduated from Alhambra High School in 1937 then moved back to Chicago where, after a failed reunion with her mother, she worked in offices.
In 1937, she met Hugh Ellsworth Rodham and they married in 1942. They had three children, Hillary, Hugh and Tony, who were raised in suburban Park Ridge, Ill.
Hugh Rodham died in 1993.