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Walter Dale de Vries

Walter Dale de Vries Obituary
WALTER DALE DE VRIES Walter Dale de Vries, 90, of Wilmington, NC, died November 27, 2019 at his home.  He was born in Holland, Michigan on November 13, 1929 and was the oldest son (of seven) of the late Martin and Catherine (VanderLeek) de Vries, immigrants from The Netherlands. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife Lois Cook de Vries (to whom he was married for 68 years), his grandson Jeffrey de Vries and his brother John de Vries. Surviving are his four sons Michael Dale de Vries, Robert Cook de Vries and wife Nancy, Steven Richard de Vries and wife Janet, and Walter Dann de Vries, plus grandchildren Richard de Vries, Christine de Vries, Jason de Vries, Walt is also survived by five brothers: Peter de Vries and wife Arlene, Edgar de Vries, Calvin de Vries, Martin de Vries, Jr and wife Carol, and David de Vries and wife Carol. Walt received a B.A. degree from Hope College, Holland, Michigan, and an M.A. and PhD in Political Science and Social Psychology from Michigan State University. Walt served his country in the military and public sector in his early years: Walt enlisted in the 2nd Armored Division of the U.S. Army (1948-1949) and was recalled to active duty with Army Security Agency in Korea (1950-1951. While in graduate school Walt served as the Administrative assistant to the Speaker of the House in Michigan.  He was then elected as a delegate to the historic 1961 Michigan Constitutional Convention.  Subsequently he served for five years as the Executive Assistant to Governor George Romney of Michigan and guided Romney through multiple campaigns. He concluded this period with an appointment as a Fellow of the Institute of Politics in the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Walt diversified his professional roles over the next decades: Walt served in faculty roles in the Political Science domain at University of Michigan, Duke University and The University of North Carolina at Wilmington. For almost thirty years Walt had his own firm that did campaign consulting, public relations, policy development, polling and media production. He collaborated closely with Susan Bulluck, a key business partner.   Out of that work he co-published three impactful books on emerging trends in political behavior: "The Ticket-Splitter"; "The Transformation of Southern Politics"; and "Checked and Balanced". His texts are still being used as educational tools to this day. Beginning in 1987 Wait launched an innovative organization, The North Carolina Institute of Political Leadership, one which continues to today.  This is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving the quality of political leadership in North Carolina through educational programs focused on aspiring elected officials.  Over 1,000 Fellows have graduated from the institute and serve in a wide range of local and state roles.  The Institute has helped start similar educational programs in three other states and two other countries. He was a leader in his profession and state: In 1969 Walt cofounded a professional organization, the American Association of Political Consultants. He was also a Charter member of the International Association of Political Consultants. He was honored in April of 2019 at the 50th anniversary AAPC conference in NAPA Valley as a founder of the organization and for years of contributions to the industry and the association. His accomplishments are noted by his years of client campaign success. He continued to be active in Alaska, Michigan, and NC to the end. His Op-Ed pieces have been transmitted across the country by state and national news outlets. He was awarded by the then Governor, Jim Hunt, The order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of North Carolina's highest honors in 1998. Walter's public service included serving on local, state, and national organizational boards as well as public boards. With that service always came political and mentoring guidance.  The de Vries family moved to North Carolina in 1972: They joined the congregation of The Little Chapel on the Boardwalk in Wrightsville Beach.  Their waterfront home in Wrightsville Beach was a favorite gathering spot for family and friends.  Walt was a lifelong avid sailor, and an inveterate traveler with his wife Lois, they traveled to over 25 countries. The family wishes to thank the care givers who so faithfully helped him continue to remain at home. Their assistance was invaluable. His life will be celebrated on January 11th at the Wrightsville Beach Little Chapel on the Boardwalk at 2 PM. Walt's legacy of improving the non-partisan political landscape lives on at the NC Institute of Political Leadership. In lieu of flowers the family asks that you please consider a donation to them. Online at: https://iopl.org/donate/ or through the mail at NC IOPL 4722 Oak Park Road Raleigh, NC 27612
Published in the Wilmington Star-News from Dec. 5 to Dec. 15, 2019
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