In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to his first of four terms as the 32nd president of the United States. FDR was known for his tireless work ethic, his advocacy for social justice, and his role in World War II. One of his most memorable moments as president came on July 2, 1944, when he delivered a speech before a joint session of Congress about the Allied victory in Europe.

In the speech, FDR mentioned the resilience and determination of his grandmother—Dorothy Dix—who had outlived him by almost 10 years at that point. Lucky for us, FDR’s words still ring true today. As we approach the 2020 elections, it’s important to remember that there are real people behind the political decisions made in our country—people like Dorothy Dix, who have faced difficult challenges and emerged stronger for it. So what does this have to do with your vote? Read on to find out.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump is the only U.S. president whose grandmother outlived him. Born in 1946, Trump’s maternal grandmother, Elizabeth (Bess) mother, died of a heart attack in 1957 at the age of 57. Trump later recalled that she had been “a beautiful woman” and that he “missed her a lot.” Trump was 10 years old when his mother died. He has four other siblings: Fred Jr., Maryanne, Robert, and Diane.

His Grandmother

Theodore Roosevelt’s grandmother, Martha Bulloch Roosevelt, outlived him for over 20 years. She was also the only U.S. president whose grandmother outlived him.

The Obamas

The Obamas are the only U.S. president whose grandmother outlived him. Barack Obama was born in 1961, which means that his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who died in October 2010, was 94 when she passed away. Ironically, it was Madelyn’s death that forced Barack to seek the presidency after having long avoided public life. His late mother, Ann Dunham, had always wanted her son to run for office and had encouraged him to do so even when he told her he wasn’t interested.

After Madelyn Dunham’s death, Barack put all of his political ambitions on hold and decided to take a break from work and travel around the world with his wife Michelle. Ironically enough, it was during this time that he began to gain some popularity within the African American community due to his stance on issues like racial profiling and education reform.

Barack Obama is also the first U.S. president whose father was not born in the United States. Barack Obama Sr., who was born in Kenya, met Ann Dunham while they were students at Honolulu University of Hawaii and married her in 1960. The couple later moved to Chicago where Barack Obama Sr. worked as a research scientist at the University of Chicago Medical Center before becoming a civil rights lawyer and eventually serving as a state senator from Illinois from 1983 until 1994. It was during his time as a state senator that Barack Obama met Michelle Robinson who would later become his wife and eventual presidential candidate in 2008.

The Trumps

Donald Trump is the only U.S. president whose grandmother outlived him. Born in 1946, Trump’s maternal grandmother, Mary MacLeod, died in 2001 at the age of 100 years old. Trump has two living grandchildren from his wife Melania: Barron Trump and Ivanka Trump.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama is the only U.S. President whose grandmother outlived him. His paternal great-grandmother, Hilda Johnson Obama, lived to be 102 years old.


The answer to this question is not as straightforward as you may think. It depends on which president’s grandmother you are referring to. George Washington’s grandmother, Mary Ball Washington, outlived him for almost two years. On the other hand, John Adams' grandmother, Abigail Adams, died just two months after he was inaugurated as America’s first president.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the only U.S. president whose grandmother outlived him?

Franklin D. Roosevelt was the only U.S. president whose grandmother outlived him. He was also the only president to be born in a hospital (in 1882).

Miles Jaxon
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