About Chiles Lawton and Rhea Chiles
Lawton Mainor Chiles Jr. (April 3, 1930 – December 12, 1998) was an American politician from the U.S. state of Florida. He served as a United States senator from 1971 to 1989 and as the 41st governor of Florida from 1991 to 1998.Chiles was born in Polk County, Florida near Lakeland, the son of Margaret Kate (née Patterson) and Lawton Mainor Chiles. He attended public school at Lakeland High School, then the University of Florida at Gainesville. At the University of Florida, he was active in student politics. Chiles was a member of Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society Cockrell Inn and was inducted into both the university Hall of Fame (the most prestigious honor a student can receive at UF) and Florida Blue Key.After the war, Chiles returned to the University of Florida for law school, from which he graduated in 1955; he passed the state bar exam that year and went into private practice in Lakeland.
Rhea May Chiles (née Grafton; December 1, 1930 – November 8, 2015) was First Lady of Florida from 1991–98 during the tenure of her husband, Governor Lawton Chiles. In 2009, she was designated a Distinguished Floridian by the Florida Economics Club at an event hosted by former Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Major B. Harding and keynoted by former United States Senator Sam Nunn.In 1998, Rhea Chiles founded The Lawton Chiles Foundation, which carries on the commitment of her husband to benefit the lives of children in Florida.Over the next decade, Chiles developed and managed The Studio at Gulf and Pine, a community cultural center in Anna Maria, Florida.
Chiles Lawton and Rhea Chiles love story
The former Rhea Grafton of Coral Gables met Lawton M. Chiles of Lakeland at a University of Florida Key Club convention in St. Petersburg in 1951. They married two years later and, the family note, the couple was “equal partners in the wonderful legacy they leave behind.”
Chiles Lawton and Rhea Chiles marriage
Rhea Grafton and Lawton Chiles were married in Lakeland, Florida, on January 25, 1951. The two shared a partnership in life and politics for more than 47 years.
Chiles Lawton and Rhea Chiles childrens
The Governor and First Lady Rhea Chiles had four adult children: Tandy Chiles, Lawton (Bud) Chiles III, Ed Chiles and Rhea Gay Chiles.