Born Thelma Catherine Ryan, Pat’s father quickly nicknamed her after his “St. Patrick’s babe in the morn.” Pat Nixon lost both of her parents to illness at the age of 18, but still managed to earn a degree from the University of Southern California. After accepting a position as a high-school teacher, she met Richard Nixon when they were cast in the same play. After working as a government economist, Pat saw her husband elected to the House, Senate and Vice Presidency. She campaigned by his side when he won the election in 1968 to become our 37th president. As first lady, Pat encouraged the nation to volunteer in the spirit of “people helping people.” She modeled volunteerism by traveling alone to Peru with much-needed relief supplies for earthquake victims.