Adelia “Dede” Elmer Robertson, an influential figure within the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) and the wife of renowned televangelist Pat Robertson, profoundly impacted the world of broadcasting and ministry.

Her life, marked by faith, dedication, and service, left an indelible print on all she encountered. This biography delves into the remarkable journey of Dede Robertson, highlighting her early life, marriage to Pat Robertson, involvement in the CBN, and her contributions to various charitable organizations.

Early Life and Education

Born on December 3rd, 1927, in Columbus, Ohio, Adelia “Dede” Elmer grew up in a middle-class Catholic Republican family. She was the daughter of Ralph and Florence Elmer, with a brother named Ralph. Her father was Vice President at the Hanna Paint Manufacturing Company in Columbus.

Dede attended Bexley public schools in Ohio and later pursued higher education at Ohio Wesleyan University and Ohio State University, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Social Administration.

Meeting Pat Robertson and Marriage

Dede’s path crossed with M.G. “Pat” Robertson’s while they were both students at Yale University. The encounter between the two future partners in life and ministry was memorable and serendipitous. According to Dede, she was in a rather uncomfortable situation with an obnoxious law student attempting to monopolize her time.

She sought an escape and moved towards the refreshment table, only to accidentally catch her hair on fire from the nearby candles. Observing her distress, Pat rushed to her aid and extinguished the flames with his bare hands. This incident sparked a connection between them, and they were married in 1954.

Family and Personal Life

Dede and Pat Robertson’s marriage was blessed with four children: Timothy, Elizabeth, Gordon, and Anne. Dede often referred to raising their children as her most outstanding achievement, emphasizing the importance of instilling a love for God in their hearts. Their family expanded further, welcoming fourteen grandchildren and twenty-three great-grandchildren.

Humanitarian and Ministry Work

Her dedication to helping others extended beyond the CBN. She traveled extensively on behalf of organizations such as Operation Blessing International and The Flying Hospital’s medical missions.

Throughout Asia, the Middle East, and Central and South America, she tirelessly worked to bring humanitarian aid and medical assistance to those in need. Her efforts exemplified her commitment to serving others and spreading the Gospel.

Philanthropic and Board Roles

Dede actively participated in several philanthropic organizations and served on various boards. She served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Regent University, which her husband founded, and as a member of the Board of Directors for Operation Blessing International. Additionally, she served on the Board of Directors of Physicians for Peace, an organization dedicated to providing medical assistance in underserved areas.

Legacy and Remembering Dede Robertson

Her unwavering faith marked Dede Robertson’s life, commitment to the Gospel, and remarkable service to Christ. Dede’s impact extended beyond her immediate family and reached countless individuals through her broadcasting, ministry, and philanthropy involvement. Her legacy lives on through the lives she touched, the organizations she supported, and the example of faith she set.


Adelia “Dede” Elmer Robertson’s life serves as an inspiration to many. From her early years in Ohio to her influential role within the Christian Broadcasting Network, Dede left an indelible mark on the world around her. Her commitment to faith, family, and service to others exemplifies a life well-lived. Though she has passed on, her legacy inspires and guides those who follow in her footsteps.