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Dede Robertson, wife and partner of religious broadcaster, dies at 94

He then ran for President of the United States in 1988, with his wife campaigning alongside him.

“Mom was the glue that held the Robertson family together,” said Gordon Robertson, one of her four children and CBN chairman and CEO. “She was always working behind the scenes. If it wasn’t for mom, there would be no CBN.

Adelia “Dede” Elmer was born in Columbus, Ohio to a middle-class Catholic Republican background. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Ohio State and a master’s degree in nursing from Yale.

Robertson’s future husband was the son of Absalom Willis Robertson, an ultra-conservative Democratic US Senator from Virginia. Eighteen months after they met, they fled to marry a justice of the peace, knowing that neither family would approve.

Robertson’s husband was interested in politics until he discovered religion, she told The Associated Press in 1987. He stunned her by pouring their booze, ripping a bare footprint of the wall and declaring that he had found the Lord.

They moved to the township of Bedford-Stuyvesant because Robertson said God told him to sell all his possessions and minister to the poor. Robertson told the AP she was tempted to return to Ohio, “but I realized that was not what the Lord wanted me to do…I had promised to stay, so I did it.”

Pat Robertson later heard God tell him to buy the small television station in Portsmouth, Virginia, which would become a worldwide religious broadcasting network. He ran the network’s flagship program, the 700 Club, for half a century before stepping down last fall.

In her autobiography, Robertson recalled her refusal to stay home and her husband’s refusal to help around the house.

“I was a northerner, and northerners usually help around the house a little more,” she said. “I noticed the further south we went, the less he did.”

Her attitude changed after having her own birth experience at a church service, she told the AP. “I started to see how important what he was doing really was.”

Robertson said women shouldn’t work outside the home while their children are young unless they have to. She raised her children and worked as a nursing teacher after they went to school.

She had represented the United States on the Inter-American Commission of Women, which was created to ensure recognition of women’s human rights. She also served on the board of trustees of Regent University, founded by her husband.

Pat Robertson said in a statement that his wife “was a woman of great faith, a champion of the gospel and an outstanding servant of Christ who left an indelible mark on everything she got her hands on over the years. of his extraordinary life”.