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Who is Roberta McCain? : mother of John McCain and matriarch of the McCain family, dies at 108(bio, wiki, age, career, family, marriage, death)

Roberta McCain, mother of late GOP Sen. John McCain, dead at 108

Roberta McCain bio, wiki, age, career, family, early life, marriage, death

Roberta McCain, the mother of the late Arizona Sen. John McCain, has died, her daughter-in-law said Monday. “It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my wonderful Mother In-law, Roberta McCain,” wrote Cindy McCain in a tweet. “I couldn’t have asked for a better role model or a better friend. She joins her husband Jack, her son John and daughter Sandy.” Born Roberta Wright in Muskogee, Oklahoma, she married US Navy Ensign John McCain Jr. in 1933.

In 1936, the couple welcomed son John McCain III, who would grow up to be a military hero in his own right and pursued a career in politics after his release as a POW in the Vietnam War.McCain III, who earned the Republican nomination for president in 2008 but lost to Barack Obama, died in 2018 following a lengthy battle with an aggressive form of brain cancer.

The matriarch of the McCain family was 108 years old, outliving her son “Johnny,” the six-term U.S. senator from Arizona and a two-time presidential candidate, by more than two years. Her son died on Aug. 25, 2018, at age 81.

Cindy McCain, her daughter-in-law, announced the news Monday via Twitter.

“It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my wonderful Mother In-law, Roberta McCain,” Cindy McCain tweeted. “I couldn’t have asked for a better role model or a better friend. She joins her husband Jack, her son John and daughter Sandy.”

Siblings Meghan and Jack McCain, Roberta McCain’s grandchildren, subsequently tweeted tributes.

“I love you, Nana. You’re everything I ever aspired to be,” tweeted Meghan McCain, a TV commentator who last month gave birth to her first child, Liberty Sage McCain Domenech. “Thank you for teaching us all about living life on your own terms with grit, conviction, intensity, and love. There will never be another one like you, you will be missed every day. I wish my daughter had gotten to meet you.”

Early life

Roberta Wright and her identical twin sister Rowena (1912–2011) were born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, on February 7, 1912. Their parents were Archibald Wright (1874–1971), a Los Angeles oil wildcatter, and Myrtle Mae Fletcher (1885–1972). Her father became a stay-at-home dad after gaining wealth from the oil industry and the family traveled constantly, with trips every summer during August.

Marriage and family

On January 21, 1933, Wright eloped in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, with John S. McCain Jr., a U.S. naval ensign who would later become a four-star Admiral. At the time, Wright was attending the University of Southern California and McCain was attached to USS Oklahoma (BB-37). Roberta McCain became the daughter-in-law of Admiral John S. McCain, Sr., a noted World War II carrier admiral under Fleet Admiral William Halsey.

It was 1933 when a 20-year-old Roberta Wright defied her family and eloped with John McCain Jr. Documents released in 2008 showed that as a young ensign, John Jr got into trouble when the couple decided to marry and he left his ship without permission.

“I got married young,” she told the Muskogee Phoenix in her native Oklahoma in 2008. “I was 20 years old, and it was the best decision I ever made.” She married into a storied military family. Her husband retired in 1972 with the rank of four-star admiral, the same rank held by his father, John S “Slew” McCain Sr. Her son was later held as a prisoner-of-war in Vietnam even as his father was commander in chief of Pacific forces by the late 1960s.

Roberta McCain also was a young mother when her three children were born, later telling the Oklahoma paper that she was “too young and irresponsible to know you were supposed to worry about them. I just let them go. I got a kick out of watching them.”

The senator, who died in 2018, said in 2008 that his “father was often at sea, and the job of raising my brother, sister and me would fall to my mother alone”. Her other son, Joe, told the Associated Press in 2007 that the family had endless dinner-table discussions about history, politics, and legislation led by their mother.

“We were all basically on the same side of the fence,” Joe McCain said. “But it was like Talmudic scholars arguing about a single word or an adjective in the Testament.” When John McCain wrote a memoir about his experience as a POW for nearly six years in a North Vietnamese prison, he described times when he swore in English at his Vietnamese guards, who didn’t understand. His mother later told him: “Johnny, I’m going to come over there and wash your mouth out with soap.”


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