William Jr.
Biological Father of Bill Clinton
William Jr.
William Jefferson "Bill" Blythe, Jr. was an Arkansas salesman of heavy equipment and the biological father of former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
Biography
William Jefferson Blythe, Jr.'s personal information overview.
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Timeline
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    THIRTIES
  • 1946
    Age 35
    On May 17, 1946, while traveling from Chicago, Illinois, to Hope, Arkansas, Blythe lost control of his 1942 Buick on U.S. Highway 60 outside of Sikeston, Missouri, after one of his tires blew out.
    More Details Hide Details He survived the accident after being thrown from the car but drowned in a drainage ditch as he tried to pull his way out of the three feet of water that covered the ground in the ditch. Three months later, Virginia gave birth to their son, William Jefferson Blythe III, the future President. In 1950, she married Roger Clinton; Bill Clinton legally took his stepfather's surname in 1961. Blythe was buried at Rose Hill Cemetery in Hope, Hempstead County, Arkansas. In 1994, Virginia was interred beside him. In Clinton's autobiography, the elder Blythe was extensively mentioned including a visit that Clinton made to the site where his father drowned.
  • 1945
    Age 34
    She became pregnant in late 1945, eventually giving birth to their son William Jefferson Blythe III.
    More Details Hide Details Blythe died in a car crash before young Bill was born, and so the boy was raised by Roger Clinton, Sr. Virginia did not learn of her husband's previous marriages until 50 years later after the Washington Post ran an extensive story about Blythe during Father's Day. Blythe soon shipped out for military service during the Second World War, and was stationed in Egypt and Italy. He worked in a motor pool repairing jeeps and tanks. After the war, he returned to Hope, Arkansas to be with his wife. Shortly after he returned, the two of them bought a house in Chicago. Blythe moved there while Virginia stayed behind in Hope due to her pregnancy. In Chicago, Blythe returned to his old job as a traveling salesman for the Manbee Equipment Company, which repaired heavy machinery.
  • 1943
    Age 32
    Blythe's fourth marriage took place on September 3, 1943, to Virginia Dell Cassidy.
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  • 1941
    Age 30
    Their child, Sharon Lee Blythe (later Pettijohn), was born eight days later on May 11, 1941. Their divorce became final on April 13, 1944.
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    On May 3, 1941, he married for a third time in Jackson County, Missouri, to Wanetta Ellen Alexander of Kansas City, who was carrying his child while he was married to Faye.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1940
    Age 29
    On December 29, 1940, Blythe married his first wife's sister, Minnie Faye Gash. The marriage was annulled in April 1941.
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  • 1938
    Age 27
    They had one son, Henry Leon Blythe, on January 17, 1938, who was conceived after their divorce.
    More Details Hide Details Henry later took the surname of his stepfather, Charles Ritzenthaler, after Gash and Blythe divorced.
  • 1935
    Age 24
    In December 1935, shortly before his eighteenth birthday, he married Virginia Adele Gash.
    More Details Hide Details They divorced within 13 months.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1918
    Age 7
    Born on February 27, 1918.
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