Roberta McCain, John McCain’s Mother, Dies At 108
Roberta McCain, the mother of former Arizona senator and 2008 presidential candidate John McCain, has died at the age of 108. The centenarian’s passing was announced via a tweet by her daughter-in-law, Cindy McCain.
The widow to the former senator tweeted on October 13, “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.”
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.
— Cindy McCain (@cindymccain) October 12, 2020
The late Roberta was born as Roberta Wright on February 7, 1912, to a wealthy oil-drilling family. She went onto become a student at the University of Southern California, where she then married future four-star Navy Admiral, Jack McCain Jr. Her family disapproved of the match, her mother going so far as to accuse the senior McCain of being a sailor with “a girl in every port,” which led to their fleeing to Tijuana in order to have their wedding ceremony.
Each of their children was successful, though John distinguished himself by becoming a military pilot who was shot down during the Vietnam War. She and her husband were in London when they received the news that their son was shot down and captured. Being the son of an admiral, the young John was held by the Northern Vietnamese as leverage for the next five and a half years. The future senator came back with lifelong debilitating injuries and white hair. However, Roberta wrote a letter to Lyndon B. Johnson in support of his war policy at the time.
Before his death, John said, “My mother was raised to be a strong, determined woman who thoroughly enjoyed life, and always tried to make the most of her opportunities. She was encouraged to accept, graciously, and with good humor, the responsibilities and sacrifices her choices have required of her. I am grateful to her for the strengths she taught me by example.”
Roberta outlived John and her daughter, Jean McCain Morgan, both of whom lost their lives to cancer as well as her husband, who died of a heart attack. She leaves behind her son, Joseph McCain, and granddaughter, Cindy.