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‘Love of my life’: U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie announces death of wife Rhonda Massie

Flowers on a casket. (Unsplash)

Rhonda Massie, the wife of U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-KY, has died, the congressman announced Friday morning.

“Yesterday my high school sweetheart, the love of my life for over 35 years, the loving mother of our 4 children, the smartest kindest woman I ever knew, my beautiful and wise queen forever, Rhonda went to Heaven,” Massie wrote on social media.

“Thank you for your prayers for our family in this difficult time.”

No information regarding the nature of her passing was shared by Massie or his staff in the immediate aftermath.

Thomas Massie, a maverick known for his contrarian brand of Republicanism, has served as congressman to Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District since 2012. The district is largely comprised of the state’s Northern Kentucky region.

A Vanceburg native, the congressman met Rhonda Massie when they both attended Lewis County High School.

“She was valedictorian at our high school where we went to the Prom together, accepted at MIT and Harvard, earned a Mechanical Engineering degree from MIT, and devoted her life to our family,” Massie wrote.

The congressman said he and Rhonda visited their grandson just last week, touring Mt. Rainier in Washington.

He called his late wife “the best mammaw ever.”

Chris Wiest, a Northern Kentucky attorney who is one of Massie’s closest political allies, told the Herald-Leader that Rhonda Massie was extraordinarily kind.

“Those of us that knew Rhonda knew that she was one of the kindest, warmest folks you could ever meet,” Wiest said via text message. “My heart breaks for Thomas and his children and grandchildren.”

Fellow politicians sent their condolences after Massie shared the news.

“Rhonda Massie was a delightful person. Please join me in praying for Congressman Massie and his family,” Secretary of State Michael Adams said in a post in response to the news Massie shared.

Four years ago this month, the wife of Rep. Andy Barr passed away from a rare heart condition called mitral valve prolapse. Eleanor Carol Leavell Barr was 39 years old.

Barr expressed his condolences to Massie in a social media post.

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Rhonda Massie, the beloved wife of my friend and colleague, Thomas Massie. Rhonda’s warmth, kindness and dedication to her family and community touched everyone who had the privilege of knowing her,” Barr wrote.

Another member of the Kentucky federal delegation, James Comer, sent well wishes to the Massie family shortly after news broke.

“TJ and I are deeply saddened by the news of Rhonda Massie’s passing. Rhonda was a beautiful person both inside and out,” Comer wrote. “Our hearts go out to my colleague and dear friend Thomas Massie and his entire family.”

Former Congressman Ron Paul, the father of Rand Paul, also sent prayers.

“It’s so hard to process this tragedy,” wrote Jim Pfaff, the president of The Conservative Caucus in Washington. “She was Thomas’s heart. They were best friends, fellow engineers and most of all loving spouses.

“My heart breaks for Thomas.”

The response was heartfelt in Frankfort, too.

Gov. Andy Beshear asked Kentuckians to join he and First Lady Britainy Beshear in “sending prayers of peace and comfort,” in a social media post.

The state GOP sent out a release calling Rhonda Massie “an amazing mother, wife, and Kentuckian.”

“She touched all who knew her and will be deeply missed.”

House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect, whose House District covers the far Western edge of Massie’s 4th Congressional District, said he was “deeply saddened.”

“Rhonda was a beloved wife, mother, and grandmother, as well as a successful businesswoman and proud Kentuckian. In this difficult time, our thoughts and prayers are with her family. May they find comfort in cherished memories and the prayers that surround them,” Osborne wrote in a statement.

One of Frankfort’s top lobbyists, Bob Babbage, also shared his condolences. Babbage, a former Democratic state auditor and secretary of state, said he was there when the Massie’s came to Frankfort to file for Congress 12 years ago.

“Then and all along, they have been such a close, optimistic, energetic leadership couple. I’m deeply saddened by her passing for their family and our state,” Babbage told the Herald-Leader.

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