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Former Texas First Lady Rita Crocker Clements, widow of Texas Gov. Bill Clements, dies at age 86

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HOUSTON – Former Texas First Lady Rita Crocker Clements, widow of late Texas Governor Bill Clements, died Saturday at age 86.

Family said Rita Clements died peacefully in her sleep.

Her husband, the former governor, Bill Clements died on May 29, 2011.

Rita Clements was born in Newton, Kansas, in 1931. She received her degree with honors from the University of Texas. In 1975, she married Bill Clements, who was the founder of the oil drilling company SEDCO, and later elected to serve two terms as governor of Texas.

Rita Clements active in politics at a young age. She was an advocate for education as she served on the University of Texas System Board of Regents, which she was first appointed by Gov. George W. Bush and re-appointed by Gov. Rick Perry.

Former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush released the following statement regarding Clement's death:

"We are saddened to learn that our friend, Rita Clements, has died. When we think of Rita, we think of a strong Texas woman and a pioneer in the Republican party. She was a wonderful First Lady for the Lone Star State. We remember Rita’s love of history – an interest from which we benefitted when we lived with the collection of historical art and furniture she curated for the Texas Governor’s Mansion. Most of all, we remember a friend whose beloved family and state loved her back and will miss her."

Gov. Greg Abbott released the following statement: 

"Cecilia and I are truly saddened to learn of the death of Rita Clements, and we ask that all Texans join us in keeping the Clements family in their thoughts and prayers. Rita was an true stateswoman who served Texas both on the UT System Board of Regents and as a great steward of the Governors Mansion during her time as First Lady. Texas has suffered a tremendous loss, but Rita leaves behind an incredible legacy."

Rita Clements is survived by her brother, four children and 13 grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Michaels and All Angels Church in Dallas.


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