To their friends and family, they’re “Mike & Fran” — team leaders of a sprawling, close-knit family with eight kids and 23 grand kids.
Frances Struewing met Mike DeWine in the first grade and the two married in June 1967 while they were both still undergraduate students at Miami University in Oxford.
“She is the love of my life. She is the rock of our family. She is my best friend,” Mike DeWine said of Fran during his inaugural address on Monday. He said he would not be governor without her.
Fran DeWine has been an ever-present figure as her husband moved from Greene County prosecutor to Ohio state senator to U.S. Representative to Ohio lieutenant governor to U.S. senator to Ohio attorney general and now to governor.
She hits the campaign trail, sits in on media interviews, walks parades and hosts an endless stream of family and community events, including the annual DeWine Ice Cream Social that has been held for more than 30 years on their property in Greene County.
The DeWines even hosts an annual high school cross country meet in September at the property, which was once owned by Whitelaw Reid, a Civil War correspondent and journalist.
Fran DeWine is known for her little blue cookbook, “Fran DeWine’s Family Favorites,” that she has been handing out on the campaign trail since 1980. Just 5,000 copies were printed for DeWine’s state senate campaign. That ramped up to 100,000 for the 12th edition when he ran for re-election as attorney general in 2014.
Re-worked for the gubernatorial campaign, the latest edition includes recipes from Tina Husted and her husband Lt. Gov. Jon Husted.
Fran DeWine is also known for her pie making skills. She and her friends crank out more than 150 homemade pies for the ice cream social.
In 2000, Mike DeWine dropped off copies of the little cookbook in the Statehouse press room. But according to a Dayton Daily News report from 2000, that didn’t cut it with reporters who said in the past DeWine had left Fran’s homemade pies in the pressroom. “We don’t want an interview, we want the pie,’ one reporter told the senator.
She is involved with the Becky DeWine School in Haiti — named after her 22-year-old daughter who was killed in an auto accident in 1993. Fran DeWine assembles care packages for the students at Christmas time.