Clinton also may have half-sister

August 06, 1993|By Arizona Republic

PHOENIX -- President Clinton, whose newly discovered half-brother made national news in June, may have a half-sister in Tucson, Ariz., according to birth records.

The birth certificate of Sharon Pettijohn, born Sharron Lee Blythe in Kansas City, Mo., in 1941, shows she is the daughter of William Jefferson Blythe of Texas -- possibly the same man who fathered the president.

She has changed the spelling of her first name to be more conventional, and she took her husband's last name upon marriage.

Henry Leon Ritzenthaler, 55, of Paradise, Calif., also has the name William Jefferson Blythe listed as father on his birth certificate, the Washington Post revealed earlier this summer.

Mr. Clinton telephoned Mr. Ritzenthaler on June 25 but the president never has stated publicly whether he believes the man is his half-brother.

A family member said Sharon Pettijohn's mother, Wannetta Ellen Alexander, also of Tucson, discovered the connection to her family during the 1992 presidential campaign when information about Bill Clinton's history was made public.

Ms. Alexander "swears on a stack of Mr. Bibles, when she saw the pictures of Mr. Clinton's father on TV, that that was the man she was married to," said Bob Pettijohn, Sharon's husband.

Ms. Pettijohn, 52, declined to comment. Her family said she did not seek publicity and did not care whether she was related to the president.

Her son, Tom Pettijohn, 34, of Phoenix, recalled the family's history.

Tom Pettijohn said his grandmother married Blythe, a traveling salesman from Sherman, Texas, early in 1941 when he was covering territory in Missouri.

Sharon Blythe was born May 11 of that year, according to her birth certificate. Tom Pettijohn said the couple divorced a few years later.

A Clinton administration spokesman, Dave Leavy, said the White House would have no immediate comment.

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