Richard Ullman

Obituary of Richard Ullman

Richard H. Ullman died on Tuesday, March 11, 2014, at Park Place Center acute care facility in Monmouth Junction, ending a 20-year struggle with Parkinson's Disease. He had lived in Princeton since 1965, retiring from Princeton University as the David K. E. Bruce Professor of International Affairs Emeritus in 2002. Richard was born in 1933 in Baltimore, Maryland, to Frances Oppenheimer Ullman and Jerome Ullman. His father died when he was 11, and he and his mother and sister moved back to her home in San Antonio, Texas. His Texas ancestors were two German-Jewish families, the Kempners of Galveston, and the Oppenheimers of San Antonio, who had settled in Texas in the mid-19th century. Richard's undergraduate degree was from Harvard, where he served as editorial page editor of The Harvard Crimson. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1955 and went to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. At Oxford, influenced by the work and friendship of George Kennan, he pursued a D.Phil degree, writing a thesis that ultimately became a 3-volume study, Anglo-Soviet Relations, l917-1971. At Oxford, he met and married his first wife, Yoma Crosfield. They had two daughters, Claire and Jennifer. In 1960 Richard returned to Harvard to teach Government and Public Administration. He was recruited to Princeton University and the Woodrow Wilson School in 1965 as Professor of Politics and International Affairs. Throughout his career, he blended scholarship and teaching with active participation in world affairs, serving as a staff member on the National Security Council (1967), Member of the Policy Planning Staff of the Department of Defense (1967-68), Member of the Policy Planning Staff and Director of the Kosovo History Project in the Department of State (1999-2000). His career also included a long relationship with the Council on Foreign Relations, where he was Director of Studies and Director of the 1980s Project (1973-79). He served on the New York Times Editorial Board in 1977-78 and as Editor of Foreign Policy (1978-1980). In 1983 he married Gail Filion, then social science editor at Princeton University Press. With her, he returned to Oxford in 1991-92 as George Eastman Visiting Professor. Dick's friendships with many of his students persisted throughout his life. Through them, he felt, he made his most lasting contribution to the scholarship and practice of politics and international affairs. He continued to write-op eds, articles, books, letters of recommendation-until he could no longer use a pen or computer. Much as he loved to write, Dick also loved to talk-which he did, uninhibited by the stutter that besieged him from childhood. The stutter was exacerbated by the relentless effects of the Parkinson's Disease that was first diagnosed in 1992 and which finally silenced him. In addition to Gail, Dick leaves behind his daughters, Claire Ullman (Robert Kasdin) and Jennifer Ullman (John Curtin); his stepdaughter Christine Orman (Dan); stepson Victor Filion; and 6 grandchildren--Abigail, Jonathan, and Rachel Kasdin, Alexander and Evan Filion, and Connor Orman. A memorial service will be held in the future. In lieu of flowers, his family suggests that friends may make a donation in Dick's memory to: Ashoka, Innovators for the Public, 1700 North Moore St., Suite 2000, Arlington, VA 22209 ( or the Parkinson Disease Foundation, 1359 Broadway, New York, NY, 10018 (
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