Rita Crocker Clements, widow of late Texas Governor Bill Clements, died Saturday morning. She was 86 years old.
An official obituary released by the family says she passed away peacefully in her sleep.
A memorial service is set for 11 a.m. on Thursday January 11 at St. Michaels All Angels Church in Dallas.
She is survived by her brother, four children and 13 grandchildren.
Rita Crocker Clements was born in 1931 in Newton Kansas. She married Bill Clements in 1975, and served as the First Lady of Texas from 1979 until 1983 and again from 1987-1991.
Bill Clements died on May 29, 2011.
You can read the full text of the obituary below.
"Rita Crocker Clements, the widow of former Texas Governor Bill Clements, passed away peacefully in her sleep early Saturday morning.
Mrs. Clements, 86, was active politically, philanthropically and in corporate America.
She was born in Newton, Kansas, in 1931 to Mason Crocker and his wife, Florabel. The family moved to Brady, Texas, when she was 10. She was a graduate of The Hockaday School of Dallas in 1949 and graduated with honors from The University of Texas in Austin. She had four children with Richard Bass of Dallas. In 1975, she married Bill Clements, the founder of the oil drilling company SEDCO. He served as Deputy Secretary of Defense under Presidents Nixon and Ford and was elected to two non-consecutive terms as Governor of Texas.
Mrs. Clements was a key strategist in each of Governor Clements’ campaigns and active in preserving the state’s rich heritage through her leadership in the Texas Main Street program, part of the Texas Historic Commission. She also led the renovation of the Governor’s Mansion from 1979-1982.
Mrs. Clements became active politically at an early age as a volunteer for Dwight Eisenhower’s 1952 presidential campaign. She was state co-chair for the 1964 presidential campaign for Barry Goldwater. She was appointed to the Republican National Committee in 1973.
She served on a number of corporate boards, including La Quinta Motor Inns and Dr Pepper. Philanthropically, she was a major contributor to the Hockaday School and on the board of The O’Donnell Foundation of Dallas, which focuses on education initiatives nationally.
Mrs. Clements was a passionate advocate of education and served on the University of Texas System Board of Regents, first appointed by Governor George W. Bush and re-appointed by Governor Rick Perry.
She is survived by her brother, Byron Crocker of Beaumont, Texas, as well as four children, Dan Bass of Salt Lake City, and children Jim Bass, Barbara Moroney and Bonnie Smith, all of Dallas. She also has 13 grandchildren.
A memorial service to celebrate her life is set for 11 a.m. on Thursday, January 11 at St. Michaels and All Angels Church in Dallas."
Saturday evening, President and Mrs. George W. Bush released a statement about her passing.
"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 are 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."
Dallas Businessman T. Boone Pickens also released a statement.