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Late Senator & Vietnam War Veteran John McCain's Mother, Roberta, Dies At 108

Late Senator & Vietnam War Veteran John McCain's Mother, Roberta, Dies At 108

Roberta died just two years after attending her son's funeral service in Washington. John lost his battle with brain cancer at the age of 81.

Image Source: Getty Images/ Photo by Alex Wong

Roberta McCain, the mother of late Senator John McCain, passed away on Monday at the age of 108, revealed her daughter-in-law and widow of John, Cindy McCain. It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my wonderful Mother In-law, Roberta McCain. I couldn't have asked for a better role model or a better friend. She joins her husband Jack, her son John and daughter Sandy, read her tweet. Roberta died just two years after attending her son's funeral service in Washington. John had lost his battle with brain cancer at the age of 81.



 

 

Roberta was frequently seen on the campaign trail when her son sought Presidency in 2008. Despite her age, the spirited McCain matriarch regularly traveled even in her 90s, including the trip to Europe. "Do you want me to sit around and play bridge every day? Or discuss my last knee replacement? Or pass around pictures of my grandchildren?" she said during a 2008 interview with CBS News alongside John, who is a Vietnam War veteran, reports CNN. "Well, that isn't my choice of a way to live," she added back then.



 

 

The prolific traveler also attended the Republican national convention in 2008, where John praised his mother for the way she raised him. "Roberta McCain gave us her love of life, her deep interest in the world, her strength, and her belief we are all meant to use our opportunities to make ourselves useful to our country. I wouldn’t be here tonight but for the strength of her character," he said, according to The Guardian. Before taking on the role of a mother and wife, Roberta had eloped with John McCain Jr. against the wishes of her family at the age of 20. Her husband, a young ensign, also landed in trouble since he left the ship without permission to marry Roberta.

Image Source: Getty Images/ Roberta McCain (R), mother of Republican US presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) (L), speaks during a taping for broadcast on the "Meet the Press" website at the NBC Studios May 13, 2007 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong)

 

Recounting her early days, she told the Muskogee Phoenix, "I got married young." Describing her marriage into a "storied military family" as the best, she continued, "I was 20-years-old, and it was the best decision I ever made." John retired with the rank of four-star admiral in 1972. His father, John S “Slew” McCain Sr. held the same rank. In addition to being a young bride, she was a young mother when her three kids were born. "[I was] too young and irresponsible to know you were supposed to worry about them. I just let them go. I got a kick out of watching them," she later told the Oklahoma paper. 

 



 

 

John, who served as a six-term US senator for the state of Arizona, said in 2008 that his father "was often at sea, and the job of raising my brother, sister and me would fall to my mother alone." In 2007, his brother Joe told the Associated Press how their family would have unending dinner-table discussions, including politics, history, and legislation, led by their feisty mother. "We were all basically on the same side of the fence," said Joe. "But it was like Talmudic scholars arguing about a single word or an adjective in the Testament." 

 



 

 

She was also a firm and principled mother. When John's memoir about his harrowing experience of nearly six years in a North Vietnamese prison came out, he had described his captors with a slew of expletives. After reading that, she reportedly told him, "Johnny, I'm going to come over there and wash your mouth out with soap." John responded by saying, "But Ma Ma, these were bad people," but she stood firm with her views. "He better never speak like that again, or I'll smack him bald-headed," she told the magazine back then. "Of course, he almost already is." Last year, her granddaughter and co-host of ABC's The View, Meghan McCain, took to Twitter and described her as "the epitome of strength and grace, an American treasure and one of my life role models." 

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