In Memoriam: Townsend Hoopes
Chestertown, MD, September 23, 2004 — It is my sad duty to inform the Washington College community that Townsend Hoopes, Senior Fellow of Washington College, died on September 20, 2004 from complications of melanoma.
Tim had a long and extraordinarily distinguished career in public service and the private sector. He graduated from Yale University in 1944 where he was captain of the football team and a member of Skull and Bones. During World War Two he served as a marine officer in the Pacific and fought on Iwo Jima. Following the war, he served in a number of positions at the heart of the newly organized national security apparatus of the United States. He was assistant to the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee from 1947-1948, and assistant to three Secretaries of Defense from 1948-1953, James Forrestal, George Marshall and Robert Lovett.
Tim followed that service with eleven years in the private sector, but was never far from influence in the government, and played a major role in the preparation of the 1958 Rockefeller Report on defense policy and strategy. In 1964, he returned to government as deputy assistant secretary of defense for international affairs. In 1965 he became Principal Deputy for International Security Affairs at the Pentagon, and from 1967 to 1969 he was Undersecretary of the Air Force.
Following his distinguished career in government, Tim turned to the writing of books, and here too he found great distinction. His first book, The Limits of Intervention (1969), brilliantly probed the series of miscalculations at the highest levels that had led to the escalation in Vietnam. The Devil and John Foster Dulles (1973) received the Bancroft Prize for its richly evocative portrait of President Eisenhower's Secretary of State. Driven Patriot: The Life and Times of James Forrestal (1992), co-written with Douglas Brinkley, won the Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Naval History Prize. Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Creation of the UN, also co-authored with Douglas Brinkley, appeared in 1997. In addition, Tim's novel, A Textured Web, appeared in 2002.
That same year, Tim and his wife Ann moved to Chestertown from Washington, and instantly embraced their new lives in the Washington College community. Tim found a particular home in the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, where visitors to the Custom House often found him chatting amiably with students and expressing his deeply informed opinions about U.S. foreign policy. Those opinions were given full expression in a series of lectures that Tim gave before the college, both in the Custom House and on the main campus. Tim also helped the Starr Center in countless other ways, from addressing the South Asian students of the American Studies Institute to organizing visits from other dignitaries, including last spring's talk by Ambassador Joseph Wilson. His clarity of vision, energy and devotion to Washington College and the C.V. Starr Center were a source of pride to all of us, and he will be greatly missed.
In Chestertown, Tim was active in a number of local causes, including the Church Hill Theatre and the Presbyterian Church. The memorial service will be held this Sunday, September 26, at 2 pm in the Presbyterian Church of Chestertown, 905 Gateway Drive, just off Route 213. Burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Church Hill Theatre (P.O. Box 91, Church Hill MD 21623) or Yale University (New Haven CT 06520).
- Baird Tipson