Rita Crocker Clements

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Rita Crocker Clements
Born Rita Crocker
(1931-10-30) October 30, 1931 (age 83)
Newton, Kansas
Alma mater UT-Austin
Known for First Lady of Texas
Spouse(s) Richard Daniel Bass 1952–1974
Bill Clements 1975–2011 (his death)

Rita Crocker Clements (October 30, 1931–) is a Republican party organizer, heritage preservationist, and former First Lady of the U.S. state of Texas.

Early life[edit]

She was born in Newton, Kansas on October 30, 1931 to rancher and political activist Mason Crocker and his wife Florabel. The family relocated to Brady, Texas when she was 10 years old. She graduated with honors from the University of Texas at Austin in 1953. Her 1952 marriage to Richard Daniel Bass produced four children. They divorced in 1974. In 1975, she married Bill Clements.[1]

Political career[edit]

Clements began her political career as a volunteer for the 1952 Dwight D. Eisenhower campaign for President of the United States.[1] By 1958, she had risen to Republican party precinct chairman in Dallas County. Her continued involvement in party politics helped elect John Tower to the United States Senate in 1961. She served as state co-chair of the 1964 committee for the Barry Goldwater presidential campaign.[2] Clements was appointed to the Republican National Committee in 1973.[3] She was First Lady of Texas during the two non-consecutive terms (1979–1983 and 1987–1991) of her husband Governor Bill Clements.[4] During 1979–1982, she spearheaded the renovation of the Texas Governor's Mansion. She and the Governor founded the non-profit organization Friends of the Governor's Mansion to raise private money for the project, as well as to fund future maintenance of the mansion. The non-profit organization initially raised $3 million. The state legislature appropriated an additional $1 million for the restoration.[5]

Later life[edit]

Clements has continued to be active in civic organizations and advocacy of women's issues. She has served on the boards of La Quinta Motor Inns and the Dr Pepper Company. She is an advocate for heritage preservation, and speaks out on volunteerism and educational issues. In 1996, she was appointed to the University of Texas Board of Regents by Governor George W. Bush, and re-appointed by Governor Rick Perry, serving until November 2007.[1][2] She was elected to the Texas Women's Hall of Fame in 1996.[6]


  1. ^ a b c "Rita Crocker Clements". University of Texas. Retrieved August 22, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Rita Crocker Clements Personal Papers 1932–2001". Texas A & M University. Retrieved August 22, 2013. 
  3. ^ "1991 Distinguished Alumni". The Alcalde: 30. Sep–Oct 1991. 
  4. ^ "Governors and First Ladies of Texas". Governor's Mansion of Texas. Retrieved August 22, 2013. 
  5. ^ Smyrl, Vivian Elizabeth. "Governor's Mansion". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved August 22, 2013. Sharpe, Patricia (January 1983). "Scaffold, Please". Texas Monthly: 61, 62, 64. Retrieved August 22, 2013. "Friends of the Governors Mansion". State of Texas, Office of the Governor. Retrieved August 22, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Rita Crocker Clements". Texas Women's Hall of Fame. Texas Woman's University. Retrieved August 22, 2013. 
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Linda Gail White
First Lady of Texas
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Janey Slaughter Briscoe
First Lady of Texas
Succeeded by
Linda Gail White