Obama becomes 6th president 95-year-old woman has seen in person
For most people seeing one president is enough for a lifetime, but for one 95-year-old La Crosse woman, a half-dozen seems just right.
Liz White has been a UW-L professor since 2009.
“I teach English as a second language,” said White.
After learning about President Barack Obama’s visit to La Crosse, White knew she had to tell a certain somebody in her life about the opportunity first, her mother.
“For her to get a ticket, I had to go back home and bring her and I knew I would have to wait in line for three hours but it was well worth the wait,” said White.
But this wasn’t the first time 95-year-old Fran Roberts has seen a president in person.
Roberts said she hasn’t kept count but she vividly remembers each one starting with President Herbert Hoover.
“He came to Jackson, Michigan where I used to live and they had some sort of Republican celebration,” said Roberts.
Roberts also saw President Gerald Ford while living in Michigan.
“It was pouring down rain,” said Roberts. “Someone said ford was in town and pretty soon a car drove up and his wife and daughter came out and ran across the street into a house.”
Then she happened to stumble upon President Jimmy Carter. While on a trip to Florida, Roberts and her husband stopped in Georgia for a bite to eat. Carter just happened to be visiting his mother who lived three doors down from the restaurant.
“She came out of the porch, his mother, and she said what are these people doing in my yard, but she was joking,” said Roberts.
As Carter left his mother’s place, Roberts got a good glimpse of him in the car.
“I just kind of waved at him and he waved back at me,” said Roberts.
Next up was President Ronald Reagan.
“We heard they were in Fort Myers and they were leaving so we drove in and saw him at the airport,” said Roberts.
Then she saw President Bill Clinton.
“I think Clinton a couple of times,” said Reagan.
And on Thursday, she can add President Barack Obama to the list.
“I think he has really tried hard and I really respect him and his wife,” said Roberts.
That’s a total of six presidents but unlike Roberts, many people are seeing a president for the first time like the Schanhofer children of Tomah.
“I was worried it was kind of one of those things I was making them do but given the choice they all jumped in the van,” said Kate Schanhofer.
All four of Kate’s kids, Addison, Amelia, Ty and David, attended the event.
“I think this will be set in his memory, that’s my hope anyway,” said Schanhofer.
And if you ask Roberts that is exactly what happens and she is looking forward to the next president in 2016.
“Next time, we are going to have a woman president,” said Roberts.
Roberts said she has seen a lot in her lifetime from the creation of a cell phone to the computer but she says she is most proud to see the first African American become president of the U.S.