|Standing together: Chelsea Clinton, Dorothy Howell, and Hillary Clinton.|
Born Dorothy Emma Howell on June 4, 1919 in Chicago, she was often between families at times living with her grandmother and other family relatives, in a dysfunctional setting. Her mother, Della Murray, was accused of abandoning Dorothy and was sued by her then husband Edwin John Howell Jr., a Chicago firefighter. Howell had a sister, Isabelle, who was born five after her in 1921.
Secretary of State Clinton wrote of her mother in her autobiography, “Living History”, recounting the hardship of her mother. “I thought often of my own mother’s neglect and mistreatment at the hands of her parents and grandparents, and how other caring adults filled the emotional void to help her.”
The Clinton family released these remarks on the passing of Howell:
"She overcame abandonment and hardship as a young girl to become the remarkable woman she was. A warm, generous and strong woman; an intellectual; a woman who told a great joke and always got the joke; an extraordinary friend and, most of all, a loving wife, mother and grandmother."
President Obama made the following statement on the passing, calling Howell “a strong, determined, gifted person".
"For her to have lived the life that she did and to see her daughter succeed in the pinnacle of public service in this country, I’m sure was deeply satisfying to her. My thoughts, Michelle’s thoughts, the entire White House’s thoughts go out to the entire Clinton family,” the president said.
The family is planning a private ceremony in her honor, and asks that in lieu of flowers that friends and the public make donations in Howell's memory to George Washington Hospital where she received care, and to the Heifer Project, an organization dear to her heart.
The family also suggests making a donation to a local organization that helps neglected and mistreated children.