SCHLESINGER--James R. February 15, 1929 - March 27, 2014. James Rodney Schlesinger passed away on March 27, 2014. Starting in 1971, he was Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, then Director of the CIA, Secretary of Defense, and the nation's first Secretary of Energy until 1979. Over the next 35 years, Dr. Schlesinger would serve on numerous high level government commissions, task forces, and advisory panels. At the time of his death he was Chairman of the MITRE Corporation, a trustee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a member of the Defense Policy Board, and a trustee of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation. He was born in New York City to Julius and Rhea Schlesinger, and was welcomed by his older brother Eugene Richard. He attended the Horace Mann School. His studies continued at Harvard where he received a bachelor's degree in Economics, summa cum laude, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and selected for the Frederick Sheldon Prize Fellowship. After his fellowship year in Europe, he returned to Harvard where he earned his master's and doctoral degrees in Economics. It was there that he met Rachel Mellinger whom he married at her family farm in Springfield, Ohio, in 1954. He became a professor of economics at the University of Virginia for eight years, followed by six years at the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica, California. He then went to Washington. Dr. Schlesinger is the author of The Political Economy of National Security (1960), America At Century's End (1989), and a consistent flow of carefully considered articles and commentary. He valued education and personally endowed chairs at New York University and the University of Virginia. Friends and colleagues also endowed chairs in his name at Georgetown and Harvard Universities. He was instrumental in the building of a concert hall in memory of his late wife Rachel, who was an accomplished violinist. Throughout his life he supported hundreds of charities, including many birding organizations, as he was an avid birder. He is survived by eight children: Cora, Charles and his wife Francine Kelley, Ann and her husband Josef Lustig, William, Emily, Thomas, Clara and James; and eleven grandchildren: Emily and Andrew Schlesinger; Flenner, Lily, Martha and Ellen Hoagland; and Jacob, Tess, Rachel, Rebecca and Max Lustig. They will all miss his wry sense of humor, his twinkling eyes and sly winks, his songfests with guitar and harmonica, his readings of Winnie the Pooh, and his ever-present quiet support. A private funeral was held at 11:00am on April 5, 2014, at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, and he will be interred next to his beloved wife Rachel at Ferncliff Cemetery, in Springfield, Ohio. A memorial service will be held at 4:00pm, Saturday April 26, 2014, at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center, 3001 North Beauregard Street, Alexandria, Virginia.
Published in The New York Times on Apr. 6, 2014