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Thelma Catherine Patricia Ryan Nixon

Patricia Ryan Nixon

United States First Lady
January 20, 1969 - August 9, 1974

Born: March 16, 1912
Died: June 22, 1993

Pitcher, Paradise Pisces [Rookie]

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Pat Nixon @ the Cosmic Baseball Association

Pat Nixon was drafted by the Paradise Pisces during the Winter 2006 rookie draft. She joins the team as a pitcher who throws with her right hand.

Thelma Catherine Ryan

I can think of any number of things I prefer to politics.
-- Pat Nixon, 1956

Pat Nixon died on June 22, 1993 at the age of 81. Four days later a televised funeral service was held in Yorba Linda, California, site of the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace. Mrs. Nixon is buried adjacent to the small house where her husband was born. In death, perhaps as in life, Pat Nixon is obscured in the shadows that dance about her husband. Pat died ten months before her husband passed away. The marriage lasted 53 years.

The Reverend Billy Graham delivered the sermon at Pat Nixon's funeral. He said, among other things, "Few women in public life have suffered as she has suffered, and done it with such grace." (Pat Nixon Funeral Sermon, Yorba Linda, Jun 26, 1993)

In his September 1952, "Checkers Speech" Richard Nixon made several references to his wife, including this one, near the end of the televised speech: ...I know that you wonder whether or not I am going to stay on the Republican ticket [for vice-president] or resign. Let me say this: I don't believe that I ought to quit because I'm not a quitter. And, incidentally, Pat's not a quitter. After all, her name was Patricia Ryan and she was born on St. Patrick's Day, and you know the Irish never quit. (Richard Nixon, September 23, 1952)

Pat Nixon, 1930 Census Ledger Richard Nixon was all about politics. And Pat by marriage was also inside the political net. During the presidential election campaign in 1952, the vice chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) claimed that Richard Nixon had told "two unimportant lies but lies nonetheless" during his controversial and now famous "Checkers speech" on September 23. The lies related to his wife's name and when she was born " (Nevada State Archives, "First Lady Patricia Nixon: Her Life Began in Nevada, But Where?" by Guy Rocha, Nevada State Archivist [March 2002]). She was not born Patricia, her birth certificate records "Thelma Catherine" as her name. However, her father, William M. Ryan was of Irish descent and attentive to the upcoming St. Patrick's Day holiday. He "called his daughter "Pat" in honor of the saint. That leads to the second "unimportant" lie. Thelma Catherine Ryan was not born on St. Patrick's Day, but early on the morning of St. Patrick's Day Eve, March 16 (at 3:25 AM according to birth certificate data.)

Ely, NevadaShe was born in White Pine County, Nevada. Since 1887, Ely has been the county seat and the birth certificate shows that she was born in her family home on Campton Street. Her father was a copper miner and in 1913, the family moved west to Artesia, California (now called Cerritos). Mr. Ryan became a truck farmer to support his family.

In the summer of 1929, Thelma took a night course in shorthand at Woodbury College in Orange County. In 1931, a year after her father died (her mother died in 1925) Thelma officially changed her name to Patricia and began attending Fullerton Junior College. Reports indicate she had a lead role in a college production of the Martin Flavin play Broken Dishes. The lead female role means Patricia Ryan played the part of the domineering wife and mother who henpecks her husband. Flavin's play is a comedy about the Bumpsteads who live in a small mid-western town.

In the summer of 1933, she studied radiology at Columbia University in New York City. From 1934-1937 she studied at the University of Southern California and earned a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in merchandising and received a certificate to teach commercial business classes at the high school level.

With her college certifications, she took a job teaching high school in Whittier, California (1937-1941). She taught commercial classes in typing, bookkeeping, business principles, stenography and adult night classes in typing. She served as faculty advisor to the "Pep" Committee, which organized social outings for students, helped organize student rallies, attended all high school sports events and every PTA meeting, and served as director for school plays. She earned an annual salary of $1,800.00 ( .

Consistent with her interest in the performing arts, Pat Ryan appeared in four Hollywood movies in the 1930s, all without credit.

Pat Ryan Nixon Filmography
  • Dancing Pirate (1936) (uncredited). Dance class student
  • Small Town Girl (1936) (uncredited). Extra ... aka One Horse Town
  • The Great Ziegfeld (1936) (uncredited)Extra
  • Becky Sharp (1935) (uncredited). Ballroom dance extra ... aka Lady of Fortune

IPat Nixon biography at

Related Links & References for Pat Nixon
  • David, Lester. The Lonely Lady of San Clemente: the Story of Pat Nixon. 1978.
  • Eisenhower, Julie Nixon. Pat Nixon: the Untold Story. 1986.

Notable Pisces
Pat Nixon's Secret Service Codename was STARLIGHT

Pat Nixon's Grave

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Mrs. Richard Nixon

Few women in public life have suffered as she has suffered, and done it with such grace. (Billy Graham, Sermon at Pat Nixon's Funeral, Yorba Linda, June 26, 1993)

In 1938, Richard Milhous Nixon had just completed his studies at the Duke University law school. Apparently, he tried but did not succeed in getting a job with a New York City law firm so he returned to his hometown of Whittier and began the private practice of law. Pat Ryan, high school teacher, and Richard Nixon, attorney-at-law, met each other in 1938 during preparation for the Whittier Community Players ( a local theater group) production of the play The Dark Tower. (57 performances of the play had been performed on Broadway during the 1933-34 drama season. It is a play about the underside of circus life: illicit romance and false friends inflect the crime drama. After a two year romance (Mr. Nixon's courtship of [Ms.] Ryan has all the power of a realist novel set in southern California) the two were married on June 21, 1940 in Riverside, California.

Pat Nixon: Official White House Biography

From this point forward, Pat Nixon became the wife of an ambitious, some say ruthless, politician. Nixon advanced through the political system from California congressional representative, to senator, to Eisenhower's vice-president to president...and his wife Pat was there, playing the vigorously supportive mate.

Pat gave birth to two daughters, Tricia and Julie.

Nixon Family Gallery

Pat is infinitely sadder than we thought...The greater betrayal in a presidential marriage, Marton concludes, was President Nixon's treatment of Pat. He had fallen in love with her at first sight, and their courtship included love letters that pledged lifelong devotion. But by the time they moved into the White House, Marton says, they had become estranged and distant a characterization disputed by their daughter Julie Nixon Eisenhower...If they had the sort of close and candid relationship of the Johnsons or the Fords, would Nixon's suspicions about the world around him been different? Marton puts it this way: "If they would have had a closer relationship, is it possible the nation might have been spared Watergate?" (Kati Marton, author of Hidden Power: Presidential Marriages That Shaped Our Recent History (Pantheon Books).

Related Pat Nixon Links

There have been some ugly and disturbing rumors about physical abuse. In his book about Richard Nixon, Anthony Summers suggests that the 37th president beat his wife. As it turns out, the wife-beating charges are the least substantiated in Summers' book. The abuse may very well have happened, but Summers can't do better than "The doctor who treated [Mrs. Nixon], [Seymour] Hersh told the author, corroborated the story." (Nixon aide John) Sears, Summers says in the text, received his information...from Waller Taylor, the Nixon family's lawyer, and from Pat Hillings, identified as Nixon's longtime friend and associate...Maybe Taylor and Hillings had firsthand knowledge, maybe secondhand knowledge, maybe even less reliable information. There is no way to know from Summers' book. An endnote informs us that Woodward and Bernstein heard the story but were unable to corroborate it for inclusion in "The Final Days." (Book review of The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon. Review by Charles Taylor). A thoughtful review of Summers' evidence that Dick beat Pat can be found in Steve Weinberg's essay, "Did Dick Beat Pat?" (September 1, 2000)

Pat Nixon 2006 Cosmic Player Plate
Published: June 4, 2006