Constance Dean Armitage Antonsen
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SPARTANBURG, SC-- Constance Dean Armitage Antonsen dies at 95.
Constance Antonsen, a leader in the Conservative movement, died in Inman, SC, on January 9, after a long illness. She was remarkable for the range of her activities and achievements. A professor of art history at Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC, for 29 years, she was also, for half that time, Wofford's fencing coach for both men and women in saber, epee, and foil. For more than 30 years, she was active in Republican politics at the state and national levels beginning in 1960 when she seconded the nomination of Barry Goldwater from the floor of the Republican National Convention (Nixon was the Convention's nominee). She was a delegate or an alternate to 7 National Conventions and a member of the Platform Committee 3 times. She was President of the National Federation of Republican Women from 1972-75, a period when the NFRW grew to nearly 500,000 members. She was a member of the President's 23-man Advisory Council on European Affairs, 1972-73; Vice Chairman of the U.S. Commission on World Population, 1974-75; Chairman of the 3rd Decennial White House Conference on Aging, 1981-82; and U.S. Delegate to the (United Nations) World Seniors Conference in Vienna, 1982.
Antonsen spoke 13 modern languages and was a past recipient of fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies for studies in Mandarin and in Arabic. In the 2 years leading up to Pearl Harbor, she used her fluency in German in undercover work for U.S. Naval Intelligence.
Antonsen was born in San Francisco, the only child of Robert Armstrong Dean and Constance Lawrence Dean. She held a diploma from Cordon Bleu, a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Ph.D. from the University of South Africa. She was the widow of Norman C. Armitage and of Randolph Antonsen. A son, R. Dean Armitage, predeceased her. She is survived by her daughter, Leslie Armitage Vallhonrat; 4 grandchildren, Christopher Vallhonrat, Gregory Vallhonrat, Heather Vallhonrat Garrett, and Seth Vallhonrat; and a great-granddaughter, Elizabeth Garrett.
The family will receive friends at the Episcopal Church of the Advent Parish and Community Life Center Wednesday, January 13, 2010, from 2:00 - 2:45 p.m. A funeral service will follow at 3:00 pm at the church conducted by the Rev. Dr. Clay H. Turner and the Rev. Stephen M. Bolle. Burial will follow in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, 875 North Randolph Street, Suite 225, Arlington Virginia 22203-1977.
The J. F. Floyd Mortuary
Published in Spartanburg Herald-Journal from Jan. 10 to Jan. 12, 2010