Roberta McCain, John McCain’s mother, attended the national memorial service remembering her late son, despite her extraordinary age of 106.
The McCain matriarch was also a powerful presence at the ceremonies honoring her son as he lay in state at the U.S. Capitol building. In one poignant scene, McCain’s mom clutched the hand of Meghan McCain, her granddaughter, during the Capitol ceremony. In another, she was brought, in her wheelchair, to her son’s flag-draped casket.
Roberta McCain appears in extraordinary good shape for a woman who is well past 100-years-old. You can see a photo of Roberta, herself the widow of an admiral, at the national memorial service for John McCain here:
In this photo, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks with Roberta McCain after the memorial service for her son:
People were deeply moved by Roberta’s presence at her son’s funeral and memorial service.
You can watch a video of Roberta at her son’s casket here:
Here’s what you need to know:
McCain’s Mom Said She ‘Got the Enjoyment’ Out of all of Her Kids
McCain’s mom spoke glowingly of her children, including John, over the years.
John McCain died on August 25, 2018 of brain cancer at the age of 81. “I never worried about any of my children. I just got the enjoyment out of them,” Roberta McCain once said.
John McCain returned the favor, crediting his mother for many of his attributes.
In his 2005 book, Character Is Destiny, McCain wrote about how important his mother has been in shaping his life. She “remains a great influence in my life,” McCain wrote. He noted that Roberta and her twin sister were “renowned for their beauty,” but it was their personalities that “have always been their most attractive feature.”
“My mother was raised to be a strong, determined woman who thoroughly enjoyed life, and always tried to make the most of her opportunities. She was encouraged to accept, graciously and with good humor, the responsibilities and sacrifices her choices have required of her. I am grateful to her for the strengths she taught me by example, even if I have not possessed them as well and as comfortably as she does.”
In the book, McCain also praised his mother’s “endless curiosity about the world, about natural history and, even more so, human history.”
“The joy of her life is learning about people and places, and coming to know them as well as she can; she never loses the desire to know them better,” McCain wrote of his mother. “She has a remarkable capacity for delight. Life, all its adventures and many interests, thrills her as much in her late years as it did in her childhood.”
Despite her advanced age, John McCain’s mom is very alert; she was aware that he was losing his battle with brain cancer. “Roberta is 106, but she’s spunky,” a family friend told People Magazine shortly before John McCain died. “She knows he is ill.”
Roberta McCain and her husband, an admiral, had three children. John; Jean Alexandra McCain, who was married to the late Navy Rear Admiral Henry S. Morgan Jr.; and actor Joseph P. McCain II.
Amazingly, Roberta McCain is actually well past 106. Roberta McCain was born Roberta Wright on February 7, 1912 in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Her parents were Archibald Wright (1875-1971) and Myrtle Fletcher (1885-1972).
When Roberta celebrated her 105th birthday, McCain marked the occasion by sharing a video, seen above. “Happy 105th birthday to my wonderful mother Roberta – we love you mom,” McCain wrote. Roberta’s granddaughter Meghan added, “Happy 105th Birthday to my incredible Nana (Roberta) McCain! You are an inspiration to me and so many others every day.”
Before she turned 100, Roberta suffered a mild stroke that impacted her left side, The Washington Post reports. However, McCain told the Post that she still wanted to move to Turkey. He successfully talked her out of that.
“We still, to this day, have spirited discussions about politics and policy,” McCain told the Post in 2012. “In some ways, I’m not conservative enough for her.”
Roberta Eloped With Admiral McCain to Tijuana
When Roberta was 20-years-old and still a junior at the University of Southern California, she married John Sidney McCain Jr., who had graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy less than two years prior. He was the son of Admiral John Sidney McCain, who served during World War II and died in 1945. He would go on to become an Admiral himself.
Admiral McCain Jr. died in 1981 at age 70 after a life in service. He was a key commander during the Vietnam War, serving as Commander-In-Chief, Pacific Command while his son was a Prisoner of War in Hanoi. Both McCain’s father and grandfather are buried at Arlington National Cemetery and had Navy ships named after them.
Admiral McCain and Roberta eloped to Tijuana, notes the New York Times. The young couple traveled the world during Admiral McCain’s service, which explains why McCain was born in U.S. territory in Panama.