The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT OF THE PRESIDENT AND FIRST LADY ON THE DEATH OF MRS. RICHARD M. NIXON The nation is deeply saddened today by the loss of former
First Lady Pat Nixon.
Patricia Ryan Nixon was a quiet pioneer whose concern for family and country will leave a lasting mark on history. Mrs. Nixon personified a deep reverence for the cherished American traditions of community service, volunteerism, and personal responsibility to one another.
As First Lady, she was indeed a lady of "firsts." She was the first First Lady to represent the President of the United States on an official overseas visit. She was the first incumbent First Lady to publicly support the Equal Rights Amendment. And she was an early advocate of promoting a woman to the U.S. Supreme Court.
While always dignified and gracious, Mrs. Nixon was also a passionate believer in volunteer service and the importance of Americans helping one another. The appearance of the White House today and its accessibility to visitors at special times each year owe themselves in large degree to her generous and creative efforts.
During her first Thanksgiving as First Lady she invited 225 senior citizens from area nursing homes to the White House for a special meal. She invited hundreds of families to nondenominational Sunday services in the East Room. And she offered the White House as a meeting place for volunteer organizations dedicated to solving community problems.
Mrs. Nixon, a mother of two, was also a loyal and steadfast believer in family. She traveled extensively with her husband across the nation and abroad, and was widely praised for her diplomatic gestures overseas. As she said in 1971, "We've always been a team."
We are heartened that former President Nixon and Mrs. Nixon were able to celebrate their 53rd wedding anniversary yesterday. Our thoughts are with Mrs. Nixon's family today as we remember her many accomplishments and contributions to the nation.