Conservative Pioneer Dies

Faith Whittlesey, President Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to Switzerland, who helped popularize the message of the “Reagan Revolution” and advocated for a staunch, traditional conservatism for decades, passed away Monday at 79.

Whittlesey, lately of Del Ray Beach, Florida, succumbed to a long bout with cancer in Washington, DC, surrounded by family and friends.

Born in 1939 in Jersey City, New Jersey, where her father worked as a railroad billing clerk, she rose to become an advisor — and friend — of government and corporate leaders around the world in the complex arenas of political intelligence and strategy as well a pioneering woman in the legal profession and the conservative movement.

Whittlesey graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1963 and clerked with Judge Francis Van Dusen of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania when, according to her biographer, historian Thomas Carty, 95 percent of judges and lawyers were men. At odds with left-wing feminists for much of her career, she is nevertheless credited with first popularizing the aphorism that Ginger Rodgers did everything Fred Astaire did “backwards and in high heels.”

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