We end in joyFordice’s daughter pens new memoir about first couple

Published 10:05 pm Friday, September 7, 2012

Angela “Angie” Fordice Jordan grew up in Vicksburg, the only daughter of the man who became the first Republican governor since Reconstruction and a front-and-center first lady who became nearly as well known as the governor.

She has had joy in her life and now wants others to strive for the same.

To that end, now living in North Carolina, Jordan has written a book about the former first couple, “We End in Joy: Memories of a First Daughter.”

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“I thought the book would be cathartic,” she said, but admits that she now has even more questions than before she started writing.

Jordan, who will sign copies of the book at Lorelei on Washington Street Tuesday, said the book centers on the illness and death of her mother, Patricia Owens Fordice, in 2007.

“I wanted to tell the story, and I wanted it to be honest and loving,” Jordan said, and she wanted the public to see a “more well rounded” intimate view of two well-known public figures.

Before she let her story go to print, Jordan said she had to know her daughters — 32-year-old Kate Roselle, Jenni Roselle,30, and Anna Roselle Stout, 25 — could live with what she revealed.

“I needed them to be OK with it,” she said.

After telling her story, however, Jordan said she had a feeling of release.

“It’s been very freeing,” she said.

“I felt fearless somehow, and I thought it was important to tell my story.”

Jordan said her three younger brothers, who are not part of the book, each received an early copy.

“I was nervous about what they would think,” she said, “but all of them loved it,” she said.

Two of her brothers, Dan and Hunter Fordice, live in Vicksburg and operate Fordice Construction Co., the firm their father began before his years in politics. The third brother, Jim, is a physician practicing in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Hunter Fordice said he is proud of his sister.

“This is her story, it’s not mine, but I hope she does well.”

Jordan said that she thinks her father, Kirk Forice, who was elected to gubernatorial terms in 1992 and 1996, would have been proud of her book.

“I had a conversation with my dad one day before he died and he challenged me, ‘When are you going to write your story, Little Girl? Don’t worry about what anybody thinks.’”

Jordan said that her story does not include much information about what the public already knows about her parents, but said, “I allude enough to satisfy the public.”

“Some of it is dirty — there it is,” she said in an apparent reference to her parents’ much-publicized divorce during his second term in the Governor’s Mansion, his being found with a former girlfriend and his marriage and divorce from that woman.

Jordan said she felt her mother would have been proud of her, too.

“I think she would be proud and approve and forgive,” she said.

Pat Fordice was one of the state’s most outgoing first ladies, filming anti-litter commercials for the Mississippi Department of Transportation in which she told Mississippians, “I’m not your mama.” She went on to host a Jackson-based radio talk show and was the spokeswoman for numerous charities.