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Kathryn DavisApril 23, 2013

It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my mother, Kathryn W. Davis, at the age of 106. Born February 25, 1907, she was a visionary – a woman truly a generation ahead of her time – and an inspiration to many.

A lifelong internationalist, my mother made the first of many trips to the former Soviet Union following her graduation from Wellesley College. In Geneva, she earned her doctorate and subsequently wrote The Soviets at Geneva: The U.S.S.R. and the League of Nations, 1919-1933, which became a bestseller in Switzerland in 1934.

Nothing made her happier than utilizing her time, talent, and treasure to engage young minds in an effort to promote world peace. In fact, on her 100th birthday, she issued a challenge – backed by $1 million dollars – to seek creative initiatives from young people worldwide as to how to achieve that goal. “I want to use my 100th birthday to help young people launch some immediate initiatives…that will bring new thinking to the prospects of peace in the world,” she said.

As a philanthropist, my mother gave generously to education, the environment, the arts, and medical research and enthusiastically promoted entrepreneurship in an effort to make the world a better place.

In accepting the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service in 2007, she told a roomful of VIPs in Washington, D.C., “My many years have taught me that there will always be conflict. It’s part of human nature. But I’ll remind you that love, kindness, and support are also part of human nature.” It was consistently my mother’s greatest desire to promote the best in people, work on behalf of the least of us and as she stated, “…take advantage of today to be as useful as possible.”

That is precisely what my mother did for all of her 106 years and what we plan to continue, in her memory, at the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation.

- Diana Davis Spencer

We appreciate your thoughts and prayers, but please no flowers.

PDF: Letter to Friends of Kathryn Wasserman Davis, 1907-2013