The Clinton Family Bio
(NOTE: The Clinton campaign would not release the birth dates of all family members if an age is not indicated in a Bio, it was not available through alternate sources)
President Clinton, born William Jefferson Blythe IV, is the only son of Virginia Kelley and William Jefferson Blythe 3rd, a traveling salesman who died in an automobile crash three months before his son's birth. Virginia later married a car dealer, Roger Clinton, whose last name Bill legally adopted when he was 15. Bill's alcoholic stepfather abused his mother. Despite the troubles at home, Clinton excelled in school and politics. (Source: 1996 Facts on File)NAME: Virginia Kelley BORN: June 6, 1923 DEATH: January 6, 1994 RELATIONSHIP: President Clinton's mother
(Source: Clinton Biography "First in His Class," by David Maraniss) Virginia Kelley was the daughter of Edith and Eldridge Cassidy, the town ice man in Hope, Arkansas. She worked during her teenage years as a waitress at the Checkered Cafe and immersed herself in activities at Hope High School, including the National Honor Society, student council, press, library, music and science clubs. She was freshman class secretary. She was regarded as a lighthearted, unaffected girl who loved to laugh and flirt.
When she graduated high school, Virginia left Hope for the nearest big city -- Shreveport, Louisiana, fifty miles south -- to study nursing at Tri-State Hospital. It was there that she met Bill Blythe, who was known as W.J. (for William Jefferson) by his family in Texas. Blythe went by other names - he could not be associated with one name or one birth date. His family claimed he was born on February 27, 1918 but his military records showed his birth date as February 21, 1917. No real reasons were given for the different dates, but it was insignificant to Virginia. Of their meeting, she said it was love at first sight - and forgot about an old boyfriend from Hope whose ring she had worn for four years.
They were married on September 3, 1943 -- less than two months after they met and five weeks before Blythe was shipped overseas by the Army. Virginia knew little about Blythe's controversial past, including three marriage licenses and three divorces. Blythe, a technician, was stationed in Egypt and Italy repairing engines and heavy equipment. He was a long way from any fighting. During this time, Virginia Kelley graduated from nursing school and returned to Hope to live with her parents, becoming a nurse.
In December 1945 Blythe was honorably discharged from the Army. He had no plans of living in Hope, Arkansas and had a job waiting for him in Chicago selling heavy equipment. In her recollections, Virginia said she reunited with Blythe in November but his military records indicated he did not arrive home from Italy until December 1 - and was discharged on December 7. "This is inconsequential except for one thing: the timing of the conception of Clinton ...nine months before Clinton was born (August 19, 1946), Blythe was still in Italy. Virginia's answer was that Clinton was born a month early." (Source: First in His Class)
On Friday, May 17, 1946 Blythe died after his dark blue Buick Sedan rolled twice, landing upside down near a service ditch of a farm. Blythe had been speeding. He survived the car accident but fell into a drainage ditch and drowned trying to make his way to the highway for help.
On August 19, 1946 Virginia gave birth to William Jefferson Blythe IV one month earlier than expected. As a young widow, she took him home to Hervey St., where she lived with her parents. Once home, Virginia's mother, Edith (who was only 45 years old at the time of her grandson's birth) took control over the care of the baby, including his feedings and regimented sleeping patterns. When Bill was just one year old, Virginia decided to return to school in Louisiana to get a degree in anesthesiology. She left him in the care of her parents in Hope and went to school in New Orleans because she thought education in Arkansas was sub-standard. Virginia returned to Arkansas when Bill was four years old. Soon thereafter, on June 19, 1950, she married a car salesman she had been dating while pursuing her degree -- Roger Clinton. Neither Bill nor Virginia's parents were at the ceremony because they were opposed to the marriage. Roger moved the three to Hot Springs, Arkansas where he ran the parts department at his brother's car dealership. Virginia and Roger Clinton had a child, Bill Clinton's half brother, Roger.
Roger Clinton Sr. turned out to be an alcoholic and abusive to Bill's mom. When Bill Clinton was 15, his mother and step-father divorced. They quickly reconciled and remarried in August 1962. Although Bill Clinton was opposed to this, his mother insisted on the reconciliation. Afterwards, showing support for his mother's decision, Bill legally changed his last name to Clinton.
Roger Clinton died of cancer in 1968, when Bill Clinton was 21. Virginia remarried for a third time to Jeff Dwire, a man who ran the most popular beauty parlor in Hot Springs. Clinton's biography, "First in His Class" revealed that "Dwire was a divorced handyman with a decidedly checkered past. In the early 1960's he had been convicted in a stock-swindling case and served nine months in prison."
Virginia married Richard Kelley, a food broker, after Dwire died in 1974.
Virginia Kelley died of breast cancer on January 6, 1994. No exact date has been cited for when it was first diagnosed but it was roughly around the summer of 1992. Kelley was buried in a cemetery in Hope, Arkansas near the graves of Clinton's father, William Blythe and other family members. The January 8, 1994 funeral was attended by nearly 3,000 mourners including Barbara Streisand and Vice President and Mrs. Gore. (Source: 1994 Facts on File)---------------------------------------------- NAME: William Jefferson Blythe 3rd DATE OF BIRTH: February 27, 1918 or February 21, 1917. DEATH: May 17, 1946 RELATIONSHIP: President Clinton's natural father. BIOGRAPHY: ---------- (*See biography of Virginia Kelley for additional information) Clinton's real father, Blythe died in an automobile crash three months before Clinton was born. ------------------------------------------ NAME: Roger Clinton DATE OF BIRTH: N/A Neither the Campaign nor the White House had DOB. DEATH: Died of cancer in 1968 when Bill Clinton was 21 yrs old. RELATIONSHIP: President Clinton's stepfather BIOGRAPHY: ---------- When President Clinton was 4 his mother married Roger Clinton, a "free-wheeling sharpie who ran the Buick car dealership in Hope, Arkansas." Bill Clinton has said his step-father was an alcoholic and could be abusive when he'd been drinking. When Bill Clinton was four or five, he remembered his stepfather was screaming at his mother and firing a gun inside their house. He remembers looking at the bullet hole in the wall every day. As he got older, Bill became very protective of his mother. When out on dates as a teenager, Bill would call home to make sure his mother was okay. During one argument when Bill was 14, Bill broke down the door to his parents' room and told his stepfather "that I was bigger than him now, and there would never be any more of this while I was there." Roger and Virginia had a son, Roger, who is Bill's half-brother. They got a divorce when Bill was 15, but then quickly reconciled and remarried. Bill Clinton has said he wasn't eager for them to get back together but his mother insisted it was the right thing to do. After the reconciliation and as a show of respect for his mother's decision, Bill legally adopted his stepfather's name, becoming Bill Clinton. President Clinton attributes his achievements to his tough childhood. He said, "I think my desire to accommodate is probably due in part to the sense that I had from my childhood, that I was the person to hold things together in my home, to keep the peace." Roger Clinton died of cancer in 1968 when Bill Clinton was 21. --------------------------------------- NAME: Roger Clinton RELATIONSHIP: President Clinton's half-brother, from the marriage of his mother, Virginia Kelley to her second husband, Roger Clinton. AGE AT CONVENTION: N/A BIOGRAPHY: ---------- Roger Clinton is President Clinton's half brother and somewhat controversial because of his troubles with drugs and the law. Roger has admitted growing up and overcoming the obstacles of a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father were especially tough for him. While discussing personal problems he's faced in his life Roger said, "to answer the question, have I been able to come to grips with all of this over the years? I guess "this"