Categotry Archives: Government

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Elizabeth Cronin

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Categories: Government

Elizabeth Ann Swift Cronin was a 40-year-old political officer at the United States Embassy in Tehran in 1979 when a mob of students commandeered the compound and took 66 Americans hostage.

For 444 days, she and Kathryn Koob, the director of the Iran-American Society, were mostly kept separated from the dozens of men also taken captive. The followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who opposed American foreign policies, blindfolded Cronin and tied her to a chair for long periods of time. Eventually, she and Koob were forced to cook and clean for the male hostages.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter halted oil imports from Iran and froze Iranian assets in the United States. He launched several diplomatic initiatives to free the hostages, and even attempted a rescue mission, but all his efforts proved fruitless. Carter’s failure to resolve the hostage crisis cost him the election. President-elect Ronald Reagan immediately initiated diplomatic negotiations with the Iranian militants, and on Jan. 20, 1981, the hostages were freed.

Upon her release from captivity, Cronin spent a year at Harvard’s Center for International Affairs. She remained with the State Department, and became a consular officer serving in Greece, Jamaica and England. From 1989 to 1992, Cronin served as the deputy assistant secretary of state for overseas citizens services. She retired in 1995.

Cronin graduated from Radcliffe College in 1962 and joined the State Department a year later. She had served in the Philippines, Indonesia and Washington before being assigned to the embassy in Tehran.

Cronin died on May 7 in a horseback riding accident. She was 63.

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Marvin Runyon

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Categories: Business, Government

mrunyon.jpgAs the U.S. postmaster general from 1992 to 1998, Marvin Runyon worked diligently to make the nation’s mail system profitable.

Runyon’s first goal was to treat the United States Postal Service as a business geared toward making money and pleasing customers. With this in mind, he eliminated 23,000 management jobs, hired more letter carriers and counter employees and stressed the use of computer automation in order to speed mail delivery. Runyon also responded to past incidents of workplace violence by creating a training program to help employees deal with stress.

To get the postal service out of the red, Runyon restructured the organization’s debt and boosted sales by featuring pop culture icons like Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and James Dean on stamps. He pushed for a postage price increase that raised the cost of first class stamps from $.29 to $.32. By the time he stepped down in 1998, the government agency was making $1 billion in profit.

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Runyon served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He graduated from Texas A&M University and took a job as an assembly worker at the Ford Motor plant in Dallas. Working his way up the corporate ladder, Runyon eventually became the company’s vice president of assembly and operations.
After 37 years with Ford, Runyon retired in 1980 and became the chief executive of Nissan’s North American operations in Smyrna, Tenn. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan named him chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority. There Runyan earned the nickname “Carvin’ Marvin” for cutting the payroll by 30 percent.

The Justice Department briefly investigated Runyon in 1997 for conflict-of-interest allegations. He proposed a plan to install Coca-Cola vending machines in all 40,000 post offices, but failed to disclose his ownership of Coke stock. Although Runyon did not face criminal charges, he ended up paying $27,550 to settle the matter. For the past few years, he taught business classes at Middle Tennessee State University and ran the Runyon Group, a business consulting firm.

Runyon died on May 3 of lung disease. He was 79.

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Anna Bradshaw

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Categories: Business, Government

Anna V. Bradshaw, the former correspondence supervisor at the White House, died on April 22 from a heart ailment. She was 88.
Bradshaw began her professional secretarial career as a stenographer and typist for Lansburgh’s Furniture Store and St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Washington D.C. In the 1930s, she was hired to work at the White House.
Beginning with Franklin D. Roosevelt, Bradshaw took dictation and replied to letters sent to the chief executive for seven presidential administrations. She worked in the White House correspondence section until her retirement in 1977.

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Frank Morrison

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Categories: Government, Law, Politicians

Frank Brenner Morrison, the former three-term governor of Nebraska, died on April 19 of cancer. He was 98.
Born in Colorado and raised in Kansas, Morrison broke from family tradition and became a Democrat during the Great Depression. He graduated from Kansas State University and the Nebraska College of Law, taught for a short period then entered politics in 1934 as a county attorney. After several unsuccessful bids for the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, Morrison decided to run for the governorship of Nebraska.
At the time, Nebraska was predominantly a Republican state. But Morrison’s charismatic personality and oratory skills won the voters’ confidence. From 1961 to 1967, the Democratic governor was best known for building the state’s tourism industry. President Lyndon B. Johnson persuaded him to not seek a fourth term and run for the Senate instead. Morrison followed this advice and lost the election.
In later years, Morrison practice law with his son and volunteered as an anti-war activist. He also discussed his opposition to capital punishment in front of the state’s Judicial Committee. His autobiography, “One Man’s Trip Through the 20th Century,” was published in 2001.
Watch a Video Tribute From KETV

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Ben DeFelice

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Categories: Government

Benedetto DeFelice’s job was to help in times of crisis.
As the chief of the CIA’s casualty affairs branch, DeFelice was the official liaison to families of missing, killed or captured employees. For 20 years, his duties involved sharing information, taking care of finances and consoling families of agents. He worked with the Red Cross and the State Department to get food delivered to captive CIA employees and arrange for family visits.
DeFelice aided the families of Richard G. Fecteau and John T. “Jack” Downey, two CIA employees who were shot down over Manchuria by the Chinese government during the Korean War. Fecteau was sentenced to 20 years for espionage; Downey received a life term. When Downey returned to the states in 1973, DeFelice was there to greet him.
The Rhode Island native served in the Army during World War II. He graduated from the foreign service school at Georgetown and earned a law degree from the university’s law school.
DeFelice joined the spy agency in 1953. For 20 years, he headed the Ad Hoc Committee on Prisoners, and spent a decade as deputy director of personnel. He was also instrumental in creating a program that provided retirement, health and life insurance benefits to U.S. citizens contracted by the agency. DeFelice retired in 1987 as director of information services. For his many years of dedication, he received a “trailblazer” award for being one of the 50 officers who most helped shape the CIA.
DeFelice died on April 5 of cancer. He was 79.

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