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Rhea Chiles, Former First Lady, Dead at 84

Florida Memories

Former First Lady Rhea Chiles has died. Chiles, 84, died Sunday at her home on Anna Maria Island, surrounded by family members and in hospice care. Chiles was the wife of former Gov. Lawton Chiles and an accomplished artist. Her son, Lawton “Bud” Chiles, released the following statement:

“Today is a profoundly sad, but also joyous day as we gather as a family to both celebrate and mourn the life and death of our mom…While she has faced health challenges over the last several years, up until the past three to four months she continued to do the things she loved best – enjoying family and friends, painting and encouraging others.”

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.