JANUARY 17, 1948
NEW YORK, Friday—A really "young" man has died at the age of 85. For many years my husband called him "Chief" and they remained friends long after their service together in the Navy Department. When the younger man became President of the United States, he chose Josephus Daniels as his goodwill Ambassador to Mexico, showing that he understood very well the qualities of character and the wisdom which the years had brought to his Navy Department "Chief."
Scarcely two months ago, Josephus Daniels sent me word that he would like to come to Hyde Park for a day and visit my husband's grave—that he would let me know when he reached New York City. On a Sunday, a telephone message came through that Mr. Daniels' train from Raleigh, N. C., had been late but that he would reach Poughkeepsie before 2 o'clock. He joined us for a late buffet lunch, and then my son Elliott and his wife drove us over to the big house and the grave and the library. Mr. Daniels then said he would like to see what we were doing on the farm. He was interested in everything, and we did not get back to my home until 5 p.m.
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When I asked him if he wanted to rest, his answer was: "Certainly not, my dear. Elliott has just given me this interesting book of Franklin's letters when he was a boy, and I shall sit down right here by the fire and read them." I went to do a little work, but my other guests, Joe and Trude Lash, later told me he read little bits aloud to them and told them stories right up to supper time.
After supper, we started for New York City. Mr. Daniels sat beside Joe Lash, who was driving, and talked to him about politics and the world in general, often including in his conversation those of us who were in the back seat. We left him at his hotel after 10 p.m., quite as chipper as when I had met him early in the afternoon.
The next evening, at the Woodrow Wilson Foundation dinner, we met again, and it seemed to me that his speech was one of the best of the evening.
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Josephus Daniels had a brave heart and the courage to learn during all of his life. He broadened and deepened as the years went on. The loss of his wife four years ago left him sad and lonely. She had been a very wonderful companion, a wife and mother of rare quality. He missed her greatly but he continued to enjoy his life as she wished him to do.
To his children he has left a great heritage. He was a Christian who lived his beliefs, a man who has left his mark on more than his own generation and whose example will continue to be an influence for good for many years to come. He met all adventures, including the great adventure of life and death, with a high heart and he would bid all of us do the same.