Hugh Ellsworth Rodham (April 2, 1911 – April 7, 1993) was an American textile wholesaler and father of New York Senator and former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
He was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the son of Hugh Rodham and Hannah Jones,, British immigrants descended from a line of coal miners from Co. Durham and Wales.
Rodham attended Pennsylvania State University on a football scholarship, playing for the Penn State Nittany Lions football team and joining the Delta Upsilon Fraternity. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education from the College of Education in 1935, at the height of the Great Depression.
He briefly worked for his father's employer, Scranton Lace Company, then freighthopped to Chicago without telling his parents. Rodham found work there selling drapery fabrics around the Midwest, sending the money he made back home.
In 1937, he met Dorothy Emma Howell, who was applying for a job at a textile company that Rodham was making a sales call at. After a lengthy courtship, they married in early 1942. Rodham enlisted in the United States Navy, where he became a Chief Petty Officer stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Station, performing training duties for sailors headed for the Pacific Ocean theater of World War II.
After the war, he began what was to prove to be a very successful career in the textile supply industry, starting with Rodrik Fabrics, a drapery fabric business located in Chicago's famous Merchandise Mart building. He later opened a fabric print plant building on the North Side.
The Rodhams had three children: Hillary (born 1947), Hugh (born 1950), and Tony (born 1954). In 1950, they moved to the more affluent Chicago suburb of Park Ridge, Illinois. The family still maintained ties to Scranton; all three children were christened there, and they spent summers at a cottage overlooking Lake Winola located in Overfield Township, Pennsylvania in the nearby Pocono Mountains, that he and his father had built themselves in 1921.
Rodham was a staunch supporter of Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign and remained a committed Republican until his death. Even after his daughter married Democrat Bill Clinton, he (according to Bill Clinton) "never gave up hope that his son-in-law would join him in the Republican Party and support a cut in the capital gains tax."
Hugh Rodham died in Little Rock, Arkansas, on April 7, 1993, and was buried in the Washburn Street Cemetery, Scranton, Pennsylvania, in a funeral that included a Presidential entourage of the Clintons.