Michelle Obama’s Mother, Marian Robinson Passes Away at 86

Michelle Obama's Mother, Marian Robinson Passes Away at 86

Marian Robinson, the beloved mother of former US First Lady Michelle Obama, passed away peacefully at the age of 86 on Friday morning.

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Robinson was a familiar and cherished presence at the White House during the eight-year tenure of President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017. She played a pivotal role in the family, dedicating much of her time to caring for her granddaughters, Malia and Sasha.

In a heartfelt statement shared on social media, Michelle Obama referred to her mother as her “rock,” always there in times of need. “She was the same steady backstop for our entire family, and we are heartbroken to share she passed away today,” Mrs. Obama wrote.

Former President Barack Obama also paid tribute to Robinson, emphasizing her unique and irreplaceable presence in their lives. “There was and will be only one Marian Robinson,” he said. “In our sadness, we are lifted up by the extraordinary gift of her life. And we will spend the rest of ours trying to live up to her example.”

Born in 1937, Robinson grew up in Chicago as one of seven children. She spent the majority of her life in the city before moving to Washington, D.C., after Barack Obama’s electoral victory. Early in her life, she pursued a career in education and later worked as a secretary. Alongside her husband, Frasier Robinson, she raised Michelle and her brother Craig on Chicago’s South Side.

The Obama family highlighted her unwavering support throughout their unprecedented journey. “At every step, as our families went down paths none of us could have predicted, she remained our refuge from the storm,” their statement said. On the historic Election Night in 2008, Marian was there, holding Barack’s hand as he prepared to take on the immense responsibility of the presidency.

Robinson’s decision to move to the White House came after some gentle persuasion from Barack and Michelle, who needed her presence and support. Despite the grand setting, Robinson insisted on maintaining her independence, even doing her own laundry.

In a CBS interview, Robinson expressed her initial reluctance to move to Washington but felt compelled to support her daughter and son-in-law. “I felt like this was going to be a very hard life for them,” she said. “I was worried about their safety. I was worried about my grandkids. That’s what got me to move to D.C.”

The lifelong Chicago resident had never traveled outside the US until she joined the Obamas on Air Force One for a trip to France in 2009. Known for her down-to-earth nature, Robinson preferred the quiet comfort of her White House quarters to the social spotlight, only making a special request to meet the Pope.

Her unobtrusive presence allowed her a unique freedom, often slipping out of the White House to visit friends without drawing attention. David Axelrod, a senior Obama advisor, noted, “She really wasn’t looking for attention.”

Just weeks before her passing, Michelle Obama announced that an exhibit at the Obama Presidential Center Museum in Chicago would be named in Marian Robinson’s honor. In a moving tribute, Mrs. Obama said, “In so many ways, she fostered in me a deep sense of confidence in who I was and who I could be, by teaching me to think for myself. I simply wouldn’t be who I am today without my mom.”

Marian Robinson’s legacy of love, strength, and humility will continue to inspire her family and those who knew her.

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