Marian Robinson, mother of Michelle Obama, dies at 86

Marian Robinson, mother of Michelle Obama, dies at 86

Marian Shields Robinson, the mother of Michelle Obama who moved with the first family to the White House when son-in-law Barack Obama was elected president, has died. She was 86.

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.

“My feeling, however, was that I could visit periodically without actually moving in and still be there for the girls,” she said.

Mrs. Robinson wrote that her son understood why she wanted to stay in Chicago but still used a line of reasoning on her that she often used on him and his sister. He asked her to see the move as a chance to grow and try something new. As a compromise, she agreed to move, at least temporarily.

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