Dorothy Rodham, mother of Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former first lady and the Secretary of State, died Tuesday in Washington. She was 92.
The family said Rodham died surrounded by family at Washington Hospital. Mrs. Clinton cancelled engagements in London and Istanbul to be by her mother's side, The Washington Post reported.
According to The New York Times, Mrs. Clinton acknowledged Rodham as being a driving force for the person she is, yet Rodham stayed in the background, appearing only occasionally in public and selectively giving interviews.
Clinton portrayed her mother as being the symbol of strength in her family, teaching her children to be calm and determined.
The Washington Post reported that in a statement the Rodham family praised Rodham as a women who "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."
Dorothy Emma Howell was born on June 4, 1919 in Chicago to Edwin John Howell and Della Murray, who fought often and sometimes violently according to Cook County records. She was the older of two children, her sister Isabelle was born in 1924, The New York Times reported.
According to the Washington Post, Her parents divorced when she was 8, and Rodham and her sister were sent to their paternal grandparents in California.The grandparents were not prepared to raise the two children, who were often punished harshly and discouraged from having visitors.
Dorothy moved out when 14, finding a job as a $3-a -week nanny during the Depression, and on her own enrolled in school and upon graduating she moved back to Chicago at her mother's request .
The New York Times reported it was there she met her husband Hugh Rodham, who died in 1993, and they raised 3 children together, Hugh, Tony and Hillary- they survive her, as do four grandchildren.
According to the Washington Post, in a debate during the 2008 campaign, Hillary Clinton called her mother her inspiration, "I owe it to my mother, who never got a chance to go to college, who had a very difficult childhood, but who gave me a belief that I could do whatever I set my mind."