Wally Hickel was one of a kind. When President Nixon appointed him Secretary of the Interior, he asked me to help Wally get his office organized. Secretary Hickel became my first boss in the Nixon Administration and my life long friend.
When Frank Sinatra sings, “I did it my way,” he is talking about Wally Hickel.
People will remember that President Nixon fired him when a letter he wrote, expressing concern for his five sons and opposition to the Viet Nam war, was leaked to the Washington Star. Years later, at the Hickel’s home in Anchorage, I was able to bring the two of them together and they re-connected with mutual respect and friendship.
Together, Wally and I saved the historic Ford’s Theater from becoming a morbid museum to a martyred President. Today it is a vibrant, thriving, living theater and together we received the Lincoln medal from Frankie Hewitt and a grateful Ford’s Theater Society.
Anne and I send our love and deepest sympathy to his wife, Ermalee and their family.
President, Richard Nixon Foundation