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Marian Robinson, Mother of Michelle Obama, Died At 86



Marian Lois Robinson

Marian Shields Robinson the mother of Michelle Obama passed away at the age of 86. She well known for moving into the White House with her daughter’s family when Barack Obama elected president.

Michelle Obama and other family members announced the passing of Mrs. Robinson. In their statement they expressed their deep sadness but also celebrated her life saying. There was and will be only one Marian Robinson. In our sadness we are lifted up by the extraordinary gift of her life.

Mrs. Robinson was a widow and had lived in Chicago all her life. In 2009 she moved to the White House to help take care of her granddaughters Malia and Sasha. At first in her early 70s Mrs. Robinson did not want to move to Washington DC. Michelle Obama had to get her brother Craig to help convince their mother to make the move.

In the foreword to her son’s memoir A Game of Character Mrs. Robinson explained why she decided to move to the White House. She wrote Michelle gave me many good and valid reasons.


One of the biggest was the chance to keep spending time with my granddaughters Malia and Sasha and to help give them a sense of normalcy. This has been important to both of their parents since Barack began his political career. Her son Craig is the former head men’s basketball coach at Oregon State University.

Mrs. Robinson explained that she initially felt she could visit her granddaughters in the White House without permanently moving in.

However her son understood her concerns but also encouraged her to see the move as an opportunity for growth. He used a similar reasoning that she often used on him and his sister. Eventually as a compromise she agreed to move at least for a while.

Marian Lois Robinson with her daughter and Barack Obama.
Marian Lois Robinson with her daughter and Barack Obama.

When the White House became their home in 2009 Malia and Sasha aged 10 and 7 found comfort in the presence of their grandmother Mrs. Robinson. Back in Chicago during the 2008 presidential campaign. Mrs. Robinson had practically been a second parent to the girls. She even retired from her job as a bank secretary to help take care of them.

In the White House Mrs. Robinson continued to be a comforting figure for the girls as their parents adjusted to their new roles. Unlike other family members she did not have Secret Service protection. Which allowing her to accompany the girls to and from school every day without drawing attention.


In her 2018 memoir Becoming Michelle Obama expressed deep gratitude to her mother Marian Shields Robinson saying I would not be the person I am today without my mother constant support and love. She described her mother as her rock someone who provided unconditional love and stability.

Mrs. Robinson’s selflessness and care for Michelle’s daughters gave her the assurance to pursue her endeavors knowing her family was safe and loved at home.

Mrs. Robinson rarely granted interviews to the media and she never spoke to the White House press. Her privacy was closely guarded by aides which gave her a level of anonymity that even the president and first lady admired.

This privacy allowed her to move freely in and out of the White House. Whenever she wanted whether it was for shopping trips in town attending events at the Kennedy Center or visiting her other grandchildren in Portland Oregon.


Mrs. Robinson participated in various White House events like concerts the annual Easter Egg Roll National Christmas Tree lighting and certain state dinners.

Living in the White House also broadened Mrs. Robinson’s horizons. She had been a widow for almost 20 years when she moved into a room on the third floor just one floor above the first family. Before moving to Washington she had never traveled outside the United States.

Mrs. Robinson’s first international flight was aboard Air Force One in 2009 when the Obamas visited France. She then joined them on trips to Russia, Italy and Ghana later that year. During these travels she had memorable experiences like meeting Pope Benedict. Which exploring Rome’s ancient Colosseum and visiting a former slave holding compound on the African coast.

Additionally Mrs. Robinson traveled with her daughter and granddaughters on two overseas trips without the president. They visited South Africa and Botswana in 2011 and China in 2014.


In Craig Robinson’s memoir he revealed that both he and his parents had doubts about his sister’s relationship with Barack Obama.

However despite these doubts their father Fraser Robinson III and his wife believed Barack. A young lawyer like their daughter Michelle was a suitable partner. Craig Robinson mentioned that without giving a reason his mother gave the relationship a time frame of six months.

Despite the initial uncertainty Barack and Michelle Obama got married on October 3, 1992.

Marian Lois Shields Robinson one of seven children was born in Chicago on July 30, 1937. She went to teaching college for two years before getting married in 1960. As a stay at home mom she emphasized the value of education to her children.


Both of her children include Michelle Obama went on to attend Ivy league school. Michelle earned bachelors degree from Princeton and law degree from Harvard.

Her husband Fraser Robinson work as a pump operator for the Chicago water department. Sadly he battle multiple sclerosis and passed away in 1991.

Robinson’s Relation with Michelle Obama:

Michelle Obama described her mother Marian Robinson as straightforward and truthful. She emphasized her mother’s unwove support throughout her life from childhood and beyond.

Robinson was proactive in fostering Michelle’s education often taking her to the library. Before she even started school and sit with her as she learned to read and write.


While Robinson typically encouraged her children to resolve their own conflicts she quick to intervene when necessary. For instance when Michelle faced distress in second grade due to mistreatment by a teacher.

Robinson advocated for her daughter ensuring she received better educational opportunities. Robinson fostered open communication with her children always available to offer guidance and support.

Furthermore Robinson created a welcome environment for Michelle’s friends. She empowered her daughter to make her own decisions on important matters. Overall Robinson’s nurture and supportive approach played a crucial role in shape Michelle Obama’s upbring and character.

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