Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie announces the death of his wife, Rhonda Massie

Published 3:15 pm Friday, June 28, 2024

By Bruce Schreiner, The Associated Press

FRANKFORT — Rhonda Massie, the wife of U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, has died, the Kentucky congressman announced Friday in a moving social media tribute to his high school sweetheart and the “love of my life.”

No details about the cause of death or her age were immediately provided by Massie or his staff.

“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 the social platform X.

His social media posts featured photos showing the couple and their family. The congressman said the couple spent time with their grandson last week while touring Mount Rainier in Washington.

Massie wrote about his wife’s academic achievements and devotion to her family.

“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,” he wrote.

The MIT-educated Massie, a libertarian-leaning Republican first elected to Congress in 2012, easily defeated two GOP challengers in Kentucky’s May primary. With no Democratic opponent in the fall, Massie’s primary victory cleared his way to claim another term in November. His district stretches across northern Kentucky.

His wife’s death brought an outpouring of condolences from Kentucky and beyond.

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., said in a social media post that he was “deeply saddened” to hear of Rhonda Massie’s death. Barr suffered a similar tragedy four years ago when his wife, Eleanor Carol Leavell Barr, died. She was 39.

“Rhonda’s warmth, kindness, and dedication to her family and community touched everyone who had the privilege of knowing her,” Barr wrote Friday.

Kentucky state Sen. John Schickel said his “heart breaks” for the congressman and the couple’s children.

“Rhonda was a fantastic human being, and her loving marriage with Congressman Massie was among the most beautiful you could imagine,” Schickel said. “They were high school sweethearts and college classmates. It was a true love story.”

The Republican Party of Kentucky said in a statement that Rhonda Massie was “an amazing mother, wife, and Kentuckian. She touched all who knew her and will be deeply missed.”