Marian Robinson, Michelle Obama's mother, dies at 86

Marian Robinson, the mother of former first lady Michelle Obama, died Friday at the age of 86, according to a statement from the family.

“We will all miss her greatly, and we wish she were here to offer us some perspective, to mend our heavy hearts with a laugh and a dose of her wisdom,” the statement reads.

The family noted in the statement that she lived in the White House with them during former President Obama’s time in office, but the “trappings and glamour” were “never a great fit” for her.

“We needed her. The girls needed her,” the family said in the statement. “And she ended up being our rock through it all. She relished her role as a grandmother to Malia and Sasha.”

“‘Just show me how to work the washing machine and I’m good,’ she’d say,” the statement adds. “Rather than hobnobbing with Oscar winners or Nobel laureates, she preferred spending her time upstairs with a TV tray, in the room outside her bedroom with big windows that looked out at the Washington Monument.”

Robinson, a lifelong Chicago resident, rarely spoke to reporters but did attend many White House events, The Associated Press reported.

One of seven children, she attended two years of teaching college, married in 1960 and became a stay-at-home mom to her daughter and son, Craig, per the AP. She was also a large advocate for education.

Her husband Fraser Robinson, who died in 1991, was a pump operator for the Chicago Water Department.

Michelle Obama celebrated Robinson in a Mother’s Day post on social platform X earlier this month, stating that Robinson “has always been my rock and I’m so grateful for all the ways she continues to show up for my family.”

“She’s taught me so much over the years, and I feel so lucky that I get to pass that same wisdom down to my own girls,” she wrote in her post, which features a photo of herself and her mother. “To all the moms celebrating today, I hope you know how much you’re appreciated.”

In March 2022, the former first lady revealed that the Obama Presidential Center would build a section honoring her mother. The area in the Chicago center included scale replicas of the East Room, the Blue Room and the South Lawn of the White House.

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