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Time for tears, celebrationby Bruce Bailey,
Yorba Linda Star July 1 1993 page 1
Yorba Linda embraced one of its native sons and shared his sorrow as former President Nixon said farewell to his wife of 53 years, Thelma Catherine “Pat” Ryan Nixon.
Mrs. Nixon, nicknamed Pat by her father because she was born just before St. Patrick's Day, was buried Saturday on the grounds of the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace next to her beloved rose garden.
The 81-year-old former first lady, died of lung cancer June 22 in her home in Park Ridge, N.J.
To the strains of “My Country `Tis of Thee,” 500 guests looked on under an overcast sky, as a Marine honor guard slowly carried Mrs. Nixon's casket to the amphitheater.
The Rev. Billy Graham opened the ceremony saying, “It's a time for tears and a time for celebration.
“Pat Nixon's body lies in that casket but she is in heaven,” Graham said.
Others praised Mrs. Nixon for her earthly deeds.
Retired US Air Force Lt. Gen. James Hughes, a former aide to Nixon, said Mrs. Nixon had “limitless stamina.”
And during the 1956 visit to Caracas, Venezuela, Mrs. Nixon's inner strength and grace under fire carried the day when rioters pelted their motorcade with rocks, Hughes said.
Cynthia Hardin Milligan, daughter of Nixon's agriculture secretary, Clifford Milligan, described the former first lady as “a warm and natural person.”
“She had a youthful spirit and a great sense of adventure,” Milligan said.
Former US Sen. George McGovern who wasn't one of the speakers, said as he filed in to his seat, “Pat withstood the pressures of public life better than anyone I've known.”
McGovern was the 1972 Democratic presidential nominee. He lost to former President Nixon that November, carrying only one state and the District of Columbia.
California Gov. Pete Wilson spoke of Mrs. Nixon's grace and good humor.
“She had a strong personality and vigorous spirit contained in a delicate frame,” Wilson said.
US Sen. Robert Dole, R-Kansas, said, “Everybody loved Pat Nixon. She reached out to those who were often overlooked.”
Other guests included Bob Hope, Moroccan Ambassador Mohamed Benaissa, Neil Bush, representing former President George Bush, former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford and their wives, John B. Connally III, representing the Connally family, Mr. & Mrs. Buddy Ebsen, retired Gen. Alexander Haig, U.S. Rep Jay Kim, Clara Jane Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Tommy Lasorda and Mr. And Mrs. Carl Karcher.
Representing the city were City Manager Arthur Simonian, Assistant City Manager David Gruchow, Mayor John Gullixson, Councilman Henry Wedaa and Councilwoman Barbara Kiley.
Graham said Mrs. Nixon's most-used phrase, “Onward and upward,” steeled her husband to endure his darkest days during Watergate.
“Few women in public life have suffered as she has suffered, and done it with such grace. In all the years I knew her, I never heard her say anything unkind about anyone,” Graham said.
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