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Stephen Ailes ’33

Published in Oct. 24, 2001, issue

Our illustrious classmate Stephen Ailes died on June 30, 2001, following several strokes at his home in Bethesda, Md. He was 89.

Steve was born in West Virginia and after Princeton (of which he was an emeritus trustee), he received his law degree from W.Va. Law School. He joined the Washington law firm of Steptoe and Johnson as a litigator in the antitrust field.

Steve took considerable time out from law for government service. In 1947 he served briefly as counsel to the American Economic Mission to Greece. In 1961 Pres. Kennedy named him undersecretary of the Army. Pres. Johnson promoted him to secretary in 1963, when the US began to commit combat troops to Southeast Asia. He resigned the next year, not in protest, although later he expressed concern about the conflict. He was president of the Assn. of American Railroads and he was also a member of the Panama Canal's Board. He was a member of Ford's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and the Intelligence Oversight Board. He was also chairman of the George C. Marshall Foundation.

In 1939, Steve married Helen Wales, whom we knew as Nellie. She died in Mar. 2001. Steve is survived by a daughter, Hester Abbuhl, three sons, Richard, Steven, and Walter, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. This warm friend and valuable citizen will be greatly missed.

The Class of 1933

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