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Patricia Ryan Nixon Born Thelma Catherine Ryan on March 16 in Ely, Nevada, "Pat" Nixon acquired her nickname within hours. Her father, William Ryan, called her his "St. Patrick's babe in the morn" when he came home from the mines before dawn. Soon the family moved to California and settled on a small truck farm near Los Angelesa life of hard work with few luxuries. Her mother, Kate Halberstadt Bender Ryan, died in 1925; at 13 Pat assumed all the household duties for her father and two older brothers. At 18, she lost her father after nursing him through months of illness. Left on her own and determined to continue her education, she worked her way through the University of Southern California. She held part-time jobs on campus, as a sales clerk in a fashionable department store, and as an extra in the moviesand she graduated cum laude in 1937.
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Lynne Cheney Biography She accepted a position as a high-school teacher in Whittier; and there she met Richard Nixon, who had come home from Duke University Law School to establish a practice. They became acquainted at a Little Theater group when they were cast in the same play, and were married on June 21, 1940.