Ousted FBI Director James Comey‘s wife was his college sweetheart, and they’ve weathered family tragedy together while raising six children.
Comey’s wife, Patrice Comey (sometimes referred to as Patrice Failor), met him in college, and, together, they dealt with the death of a child. The Comeys have been married since 1987. She is also a Hillary Clinton supporter, who admitted to ABC News that she was “devastated” when Clinton lost.
The FBI director was fired on May 9, 2017 by President Donald Trump. According to NBC News, he had previously revealed that the FBI is investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election, allegations Trump denies. You can read more about Trump firing James Comey here.
On Mother’s Day 2017, Patrice and James Comey appeared in public together at a musical. According to BroadwayWorld.com, the musical, called Fun Home, is “about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Patrice Failor & James Comey Met as College Freshmen & Failor Supported Hillary Clinton
According to the Daily Press, both Patrice and James Comey went to William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia, meeting in 1978 as freshmen. When he was nominated to be Barack Obama’s FBI Director in 2013, WestportNOW said, Comey “paid tribute to his wife,” saying:
Nearly everything I am and have done in my adult life is due to the great good fortune of marrying up.
In 2011, the William and Mary Law School named Comey the Carter O. Lowance Fellow, which is one of the law school’s highest honors, the Daily Press said. The news site called the Comeys “a William and Mary family” and said that, in addition to attending the school, Patrice Comey worked in Student Affairs. James Comey graduated in the class of 1982.
James Comey was a chemistry and religion major at William and Mary. Before becoming President Barack Obama’s FBI director, he served as a U.S. deputy attorney general for George W. Bush and taught at Columbia University, said Williamsburg Yorktown Daily.
In his interview with James Comey on April 15, 2018, George Stephanopoulos stated to Comey: “your wife, Patrice, Hillary Clinton supporter.”
James Comey responded, according to ABC’s transcript of the interview, “Oh yeah. And– and the– the– I didn’t take a poll among all the kids, but I’m pretty sure that at least my four daughters, probably all five of my kids, wanted Hillary Clinton to be the first woman president. I know my amazing spouse did. My)– my wife and girls marched in the women’s march the day after President Trump’s inauguration. There was a lotta passion in this house for Hillary Clinton. And I– I get that. But again, I hope it illustrates to people that I really wasn’t making decisions based on political fortunes.”
Patrice Failor confirmed that during the interview, which led some of James Comey’s critics to leap on the revelation on Twitter.
James Comey further revealed to ABC of his decisions over the Hillary Clinton email investigation, “She knew enough, Patrice, the pain that I was in that– and how hard these decisions were that I don’t think she spent a lotta time– I think she got actually where I was.”
“She hated the fact that I had to make these decisions, and ’cause she loves me dearly, she hated the fact that I personally was stepping in front of the institutions to get shot repeatedly. She would say, ‘Look, I get what you’re doing. I get that you’re trying to protect the institutions.'”
2. Patrice Comey and James Comey Had Six Children Together But Lost an Infant to a Treatable Infection
In 1995, Patrice and James Comey lost their 9-day-old son, Collin, after he died from a Group B strep infection, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Patrice Comey wrote an op-ed column about the boy’s death and “lobbied in support of screening for the bacteria during pregnancy,” the newspaper said.
In the column, Patrice Comey wrote,
MY BABY DIED a month ago today. He was nine days old. Collin Edward Comey was killed by a preventable infection. I am sharing our tragedy so other mothers’ babies might be saved.
She wrote that the family was happily anticipating Collin’s birth for months. At that time, the couple had two daughters and another son, born 16 months apart from Collin, and the family expected the two boys would become “buddies.”
The kids prayed for him and kissed my tummy good night before being tucked in each night. They helped me prepare Collin’s baby clothes…
Collin was born Aug. 4, 2005. He weighted 7 pounds, 6 ounces.
My husband, Jim, and I went to the hospital…I cherish the memories of that day. We each held, kissed and loved Collin.
However, that night, Collin’s breathing grew labored, and he stopped nursing well. Shortly, he was sent to intensive care on a respirator. It’s believed he contracted the bacterial infection in the birth canal; he died in Patrice’s arms as she sang him lullabies.
Patrice Comey said she was writing the column in the Baltimore Sun newspaper because the bacterial infection is common yet treatable, and she wanted to help prevent other tragedies. A screening test for it costs $40 or less, she wrote.
The couple’s surviving children are Abby, Claire, Brien, Kate and Maurene.
The couple’s daughter, Maurene, also attended William and Mary and then Harvard Law School, the Daily Press said.
3. Patrice Comey Didn’t Like New York So The Family Moved to Virginia For a Time
“My wife wasn’t digging New York,” James Comey told New York Magazine.
James Comey told the magazine the family decided to move to northern Virginia because “We wanted to live in a place where we’d both be happier raising our kids.” Patrice Comey grew up in northern Virginia, and in Iowa, and the couple both “liked Richmond as a place to live.”
For a time, James Comey worked in Virginia as a corporate lawyer before becoming an assistant U.S. attorney after his conscience was bothered by a case involving asbestos related injuries that he’d worked on. They ended up moving back to New York for a time when he was appointed U.S. Attorney there, and he says to New York Magazine that his wife came around to liking it after a trip along the Hudson River. Then, of course, he was named FBI director.
4. Patrice Comey Works With Juveniles & Has Been a Foster Mother
In March 2016, Patrice Comey testified before the legislative Judiciary Committee in support of a bill that would allow unpaid volunteers to counsel children through the juvenile justice system, said ctpost.
The newspaper said that Patrice was accompanied by her husband and an FBI security detail; Patrice Comey is a former Bridgeport Superior Court volunteer. She said:
Every foster child in this great state gets a lawyer. These lawyers each has up to 100 cases, but once they have a case they’re to express the best interests of the child in court. And if the lawyer or the judge or anyone feels that what the child wants is in conflict with their best…then he can ask for an advocate for the child separate.
Ctpost said the bill would create a program so that judges could appoint special advocates in juvenile court. On Facebook, Patrice Comey, in 2014, wrote: “I am a foster parent, have served as a guardian ad litem for foster kids and work with aging out foster kids in my community.”
5. The Comeys Have a Net Worth of at Least $11 Million
James Comey’s net worth was disclosed when he was nominated to be FBI director, and his net worth was put at a minimum of $11 million.
In the disclosure to the Senate confirmation committee, it was revealed that James Comey stood to receive $3 million in a hedge fund profit-sharing payout. He and Patrice had $5 million in stocks, including investments in Exxon Mobile, Hormel Foods, Berkshire Hathaway, and other companies.
They owned a $3 million home in Westport, Connecticut.