[Carol M. Highsmith, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons]

Michelle Obama’s Mother, Marian Robinson, Has Died

The Obama family has disclosed the death of Michelle Obama’s mother, Marian Shields Robinson. Her death was announced in a post by the family that said, “there was and will be only one Marian Robinson. In our sadness, we are lifted up by the extraordinary gift of her life.”

Robinson served as a caretaker of the Obama daughters during Barack Obama’s run for president in 2008, eventually moving into the White House to be with them.

The Associated Press shared the news.

Mrs. Robinson’s death was announced by Michelle Obama and other family members in a statement that said “there was and will be only one Marian Robinson. In our sadness, we are lifted up by the extraordinary gift of her life.”

She was a widow and lifelong Chicago resident when she moved to the executive mansion in 2009 to help care for granddaughters Malia and Sasha. In her early 70s, Mrs. Robinson initially resisted the idea of starting over in Washington, and Michelle Obama had to enlist her brother, Craig, to help persuade their mother to move.

“There were many good and valid reasons that Michelle raised with me, not the least of which was the opportunity to continue spending time with my granddaughters, Malia and Sasha, and to assist in giving them a sense of normalcy that is a priority for both of their parents, as has been from the time Barack began his political career,” Mrs. Robinson wrote in the foreword to “A Game of Character,” a memoir by her son, formerly the head men’s basketball coach at Oregon State University.

Granddaughters Malia and Sasha were just 10 and 7, respectively, when the White House became home in 2009. In Chicago, Mrs. Robinson had become almost a surrogate parent to the girls during the 2008 presidential campaign. She retired from her job as a bank secretary to help shuttle them around.

The family stated that “after the White House, she returned to Chicago, reconnecting with longtime friends, trading wise-cracks, traveling, and enjoying a good glass of wine. She passed peacefully this morning, and right now, none of us are quite sure how exactly we’ll move on without her.

As a mother, she was our backstop, a calm and nonjudgmental witness to our triumphs and stumbles. She was always, always there, welcoming us back home no matter how far we had journeyed, with that deep and abiding love.

Marian Robinson was 86.

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