Roberta McCain, the mother of the late senator and 2008 presidential candidate John McCain, died Monday at her home in Washington, D.C. after several months of failing health.
McCain was 108 years old. The cause of death is not clear, but her son Joe, who was her caretaker, reported a few months ago that a recent bout with pneumonia and a previous stroke had caused her to slow down and slowly fail.
Cindy McCain, John McCain’s widow, announced the news on Twitter Monday.
It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my wonderful Mother In-law, Roberta McCain. I couldn’t have asked for a better role model or a better friend. She joins her husband Jack, her son John and daughter Sandy.
— Cindy McCain (@cindymccain) October 12, 2020
“Force of nature”
Cindy McCain flew to D.C. to be with Joe and other family members when she heard about Roberta’s death.
“She is going to be missed so much,” Cindy told People magazine. “She was a force of nature and someone I loved being around.”
Roberta was an oil heiress and brought wealth into the family when she eloped with husband Jack, CBS News reported. She was widowed by husband Jack nearly 40 years ago, but she continued to travel with her identical twin sister Rowena Willis until Willis’s death in 2011 and helped her son with two presidential campaigns. Son John spoke fondly of his mother while he was still alive.
Besides her son Joe, McCain is survived by 12 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. Her newest grandchild, Meghan McCain’s daughter Liberty Sage, was born just over two weeks ago. Roberta was told about Liberty’s birth, but did not get to meet her.
Funeral arrangements in flux
Cindy McCain said funeral arrangements for Roberta were still being worked out, including Zoom arrangements for many elderly friends and relatives who cannot attend in person.
Roberta will be buried with late husband Navy Admiral John S. McCain Jr. in Arlington National Cemetary.
Cindy McCain said she never really got a straight answer about the secret of Roberta’s longevity.
“I asked her 100 times and she couldn’t tell me,” Cindy recalled to People. “She said, ‘Oh I just love living.’ “