Frances Struewing DeWine has been married to Ohio governor Mike DeWine for more than 50 years.
Gov. DeWine has been praised as an exemplary figure in the fight to contain the coronavirus. He was the first governor in the nation to decide to close all schools for in-person learning in mid-March.
DeWine initially announced on August 6 that he had tested positive for COVID-19. But a second test hours later came back negative. Mrs. DeWine also tested negative for the virus. The governor’s office said neither of the DeWine’s had exhibited symptoms.
Here’s what you need to know about the First Lady of Ohio.
1. Frances & Mike DeWine Are Childhood Sweethearts & Have Been Married Since 1967
Frances Struewing and Mike DeWine both grew up in Yellow Springs. It’s a small town in western Ohio near Dayton and the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, in Greene County. It’s a community of just under 4,000 people, according to 2017 estimates via the Census Bureau.
According to the Dayton Daily News, the couple grew up together, having met in first grade. They started dating in sixth grade. During a visit to Yellow Springs High School in 2012, Mike DeWine shared with the crowd that he had taken Frances to see a show at the Little Art Theater for their very first date.
Frances and Mike attended college together at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. The DeWines tied the knot in 1967, while they were still college students.
2. The DeWines Have Eight Children & 24 Grandchildren
Frances Struewing DeWine had eight children with husband Mike. The oldest, Patrick DeWine, was born one year after they got married, on February 22, 1968. Patrick is a member of the Republican party, also attended Miami University, and got his legal degree at the University of Michigan. He is currently an associate justice on the Ohio Supreme Court. His current term runs through the end of 2022.
Alice DeWine Dudukovich is an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in the criminal division in Greene County, Ohio. She attended Miami University and has three children.
Jill DeWine Darling lives in Worthington, a suburb of Columbus. Based on Facebook photos, she appears to have six children.
In 2010, the DeWine family purchased a minor league baseball team in North Carolina, the Asheville Tourists. Brian DeWine is the president of the baseball club. He graduated from Clemson University in 2002 and earned a master’s degree in sports management in 2003 from the Ohio State University.
They have another son named John DeWine. He appears to keep a low profile online.
Rebecca DeWine was Frances and Mike’s third child. In 1993, at age 22, she was killed in a car accident a few miles away from her parents’ home in Cedarville. She had just graduated from Wooster College and had been planning to pursue journalism as a career when she died.
3. Frances DeWine Collects Toys Each Year to Benefit the School in Haiti That is Named After Her Late Daughter
Fran DeWine and her husband Mike decided to honor their late daughter Rebecca by founding a school in her name. The Becky DeWine School has approximately 5,000 students each year in the Cite Soleil district of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. In 2013, the DeWines were there to celebrate with the first class to graduate through the system.
Fran described the graduation to the Columbus Dispatch. “I just sat there thinking Becky would have really liked this. She wanted to make a difference in peoples’ lives, and she has done that. As the students sang songs in Creole, I didn’t understand a lot of the language, but I kept hearing the words ‘Becky DeWine.’ She would have been happy with what has happened there.”
It’s not all study and no fun for the children attending the Becky DeWine School. Fran DeWine runs an annual toy drive to benefit the students. She begins asking for donations toward the end of every summer through Facebook. She shared a photo of all the boxes in her garage in October 2017. The collection included 1,000+ Beanie Babies, 3,000 bags with pencils and small toys, 1200 bags of school supplies, 700 cosmetic bags and 900 neckties.
4. Fran DeWine Loves to Cook & Bake, & Each Year Compiles Her Own Cookbooks
Fran DeWine told the Xenia Daily Gazette that she has been cooking since childhood. “Growing up in a family of six children, Mom always let me help her in the kitchen. I was an expert on peeling potatoes, making meat loaf and pot roast. And when any company came by the house, I made chocolate chip cookies. Cooking became my passion!”
Fran said the idea to compile cookbooks came to her while on the campaign trail with her husband. She explained that when knocking on doors in Greene County, she wanted to be able to give the voters something to make them smile. Fran began collecting recipes and put them together into her first cookbook, with her children tasked with illustrating it. The idea caught on, and she now has more than a dozen editions.
5. The DeWine Home is a Historical Building Not Far From Their Hometown
Fran and Mike DeWine have been living in Cedarville, Ohio for the majority of their marriage. Cedarville is located just about seven miles away from their hometown of Yellow Springs in Greene County. It’s about an hour’s drive from the capital city of Columbus.
They clearly have a passion for history. Their home was first built in 1823 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Famed Civil War journalist Whitelaw Reid and his family lived in the house. He was also a vice presidential nominee but lost the election.
Fran and Mike DeWine bought the home in 1974. It does not appear to be listed on the Greene County auditor’s website (at least not under the DeWine name). But the family has welcomed the public into their home.
In 2016, Fran encouraged people to stop by to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Ohio History Connection. She shared a photo of what the house looked like in 1907.