Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

Major Energy and Environmental News and Commentary affecting the Nuclear Industry.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Remembering John Whitaker

Subj: Remembering John Whitaker
Senior environmental policy aide to President Nixon --
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Remembering John Whitaker
John Whitaker participated in several Nixon Legacy Forums in recent years, giving insight on the administration's environmental initiatives.


John C. Whitaker, a senior environmental policy aide to President Nixon and longtime friend of the Richard Nixon Foundation passed away June 12, 2016. He was 89.

John was an early supporter, friend and advisor to Richard Nixon, beginning with his time as an advance man on the 1960 presidential campaign.

Following Nixon’s loss in 1960, John was one of the few aides to remain onboard during the time that Nixon called his “wilderness years.” When Nixon made his successful run at the presidency in 1968, John worked full time managing the schedules of Richard and Pat Nixon, vice presidential candidate Spiro Agnew and the campaign surrogates.

In the months following the victorious election in 1968, president-elect Nixon appointed Whitaker as Secretary to the Cabinet, where he served for the first several months of the administration.

After President Nixon reorganized the Executive Branch during the first year of his presidency, he tapped John – a career geologist with a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins, as Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs. In this role, John coordinated the groundbreaking Nixon policy initiatives on the environment, energy and natural resources.

The work of that group brought about, among many environment-related accomplishments, the creation of the EPA, the setting aside 700,000,000 acres of land for public parks and the signing of the Clean Water and Clean Air acts. To this day, Richard Nixon is considered, along with Theodore Roosevelt and Jimmy Carter, among America’s “greenest” presidents. The Nixon administration’s contributions were in no small part the result of the work of the Domestic Council and John Whitaker.

Following his service on the Domestic Council, John moved into the role of Under Secretary of the Interior, where he served into the Ford administration. After his time in the Nixon and Ford administrations, he was vice president of Union Camp Corporation and served as an advisor on President Reagan's Commission on Americans Outdoors. In the 1980s, he returned to work for his old boss, Richard Nixon, as the first executive director of the Nixon Library -- in the time before there was an actual Nixon Library.

As director, he raised millions of dollars to build the Library and hired the original architect, before handing the reigns over to Hugh Hewitt, who officially opened the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace in 1990.

John was chairman of the board, and an active member, of Rebuilding Together, a national non-profit organization, that repairs homes for low-income elderly citizens.

In recent years, he remained active with the Richard Nixon Foundation, participating in two Nixon Legacy Forums on the administration’s environmental policies, marking the 20th anniversary of the dedication of the Nixon Library in 2010.

“Through many decades, John remained a loyal friend to the President and this Foundation,” said Foundation Chairman Ron Walker. “He was a remarkable man of great sincerity, great accomplishment, and great faith,” Walker added.

John continued to attend the annual DC reunion of the Nixon administration officials each November. That group of friends - among many others - will miss him dearly.

His wife of 43 years, the former Mary Elizabeth Bradley, passed in 2001. Survivors include his five sons, John Clifford of Cincinnati, Ohio, Robert Carroll of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Stephen Bradley of San Luis Obispo, California, William Burns of Kensington, Maryland, and James Ford of Pacific Palisades, California, along with fourteen grandchildren.

A funeral mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday June 18, 2016 at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, 3630 Quesada Street, NW, Washington, DC 20015.

A visitation at the church, beginning at 10 a.m., will precede the funeral. Following the funeral, a private burial will be held at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Perryville, Maryland.

Memorial contributions will be gratefully received at Rebuilding Together, 1899 L Street NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20036; Missionaries of Charity, 2800 Otis St NE, Washington, DC 20018; and Washington Jesuit Academy, 900 Varnum St NE, Washington, DC 20017.

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