I watched you speak with Berkeley students, some quite hostile. Your calm, clear, at times humorous, comments showed me how to engage verbally with fellow school board trustees, students, local and state legislators, and leaders whose values and opinions were frequently diametrically opposed to my comments and votes. You showed me by your actions, an orderly way to speak in a hostile environment. Shy by nature, I became bolder and more effective because of God’s Word, and your example.
Phyllis is remarkable for the large number of conservatives, mostly ladies like herself, whom she has systematically trained to be effective in the public policy process in so many states. Her Eagle Forum members are important, often essential, leaders for good conservative causes in their communities and states. Phyllis trains her people very well indeed.
My experiences with Phyllis started as a homemaker, mother of four little boys, in the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) battles in Illinois in the mid-1970’s, after I heard Phyllis speak against the Constitutional amendment. I was encouraged to speak with my elected officials about why they should vote against ERA, and made the first of several day-long trips to Springfield to do that. . . . She has the ability to encourage people to join the battle in defense of liberty and direct them in ways to become most effective.
Phyllis is smart, so it was fun to be on the program with her . . . I never found Phyllis to be unpleasant, unfriendly or uncooperative.
Phyllis Schlafly is greatly responsible for inspiring my civic involvement. As the Book of Proverbs states, “A good person leaves an inheritance to their children’s children,” Phyllis Schlafly has inspired millions to stay in the battle to pass to our posterity the blessings of freedom.
One of my favourite Phyllis Schlafly moments was when we first met her. I wrote to her explaining I greatly admired her work, that I did similar work in Australia and that with a colleague I would shortly be arriving in Chicago. She responded that she was flying out of Chicago that same day and we could meet at the airport. We duly met at O’Hare and as we were having a coffee a man rushed up to our table and said “Oh, Mrs. Schlafly, what a pleasure to see you – you are one of the people I most admire in the world. Please let me pay your bill.” Phyllis responded graciously and as the man left, my colleague and I jokingly asked if she had staged the episode to impress us, and assured her that she didn’t need to as we were impressed enough already. Phyllis laughed and said she had no idea who the guy was. This is an example of how Phyllis not only engaged with the women of America, she was not only Mrs. America, but also inspired the men as was evident from the admiration of the “Mr. America” who wanted to pay for her coffee.
I have now lived and worked in Washington 26 years: In the Senate, in the House, in the White House, and now at Focus on the Family, which I adore. None of this, Phyllis, would have been possible without the mission, vision, and way forward that your leadership and vocation provided. From the bottom of my heart, sincerest thanks and praise for a life well lived and for your devotion and passion for the first principles that make life worth living.
Over the last twenty years or so, Phyllis Schlafly has become a treasured friend as well as an admired ally in the fight to preserve liberty in this great Republic. It is a real privilege to be invited to salute her.
When I was a young teen and volunteered in Phyllis’s Alton office during the summers, the Phyllis Schlafly Report was being completely stuffed and sorted by hand, which was a huge undertaking as the list had thousands of people who received the Report. Most of the volunteers (usually 3 or 4 at any one time) were ladies over 60 years of age and I was the anomaly. Phyllis would often drop in to say hello and give encouragement to the roomful of hardworking ladies who would spend several days getting the Report all stuffed and ready to mail. To help motivate me, because Phyllis was perfectly aware that teens often experience wandering attention and lack of motivation, she encouraged me to make a game of it and see if I could stuff as many envelopes by myself as the other ladies did all together. It made the tedious job much more exciting for me and most times I was able to meet or exceed the output of the other ladies; it made me feel proud to know that Phyllis had every confidence that I could be so productive!
You may have heard how Phyllis Schlafly worked during World War II as an arms inspector/ tester for a defense plant while attending Washington University. One of the product lines she tested were .50 caliber machine guns and .50 ammunition. These bullets were about 5 ½ inches long and about the width of a normal thumb. The 2012 NRA Convention was held in St. Louis with many live reports in St. Louis media coming from the convention floor. Among those reports were several about the Smith and Wesson .50 caliber Desert Eagle handgun. As one who handled probably thousands of .50 caliber rounds Phyllis was puzzled how someone could fire such a large round from a handgun or why they would want to. I had talked with Phyllis shortly after that 2012 convention when the subject of .50 caliber handguns came up and she asked me about them. I had several firearm manufacturers catalogues I got at the convention in the car including the one from Smith and Wesson. Phyllis being the quick study that she was read the material about the .50 caliber round being in big demand for those in bear country or those hunting big game in Africa as back up weapons to their hunting rifles. She was fascinated that the nearly six inch .50 calliber bullets she had fired in the 1940’s were now shrunk down to about 2 ½ inches.
Although all of my time with Phyllis has been a treasure, without question I have enjoyed our quadrennial platform battles at the Republican National Convention the most. Every four years, on the day before the Platform Committee begins its work, General Schlafly assembles her conservative troops among the Platform Committee members and lays out the battle plan. Our strategic and tactical planning usually occurs in a conference room of a hotel and lasts well into the night. Phyllis designates officers to lead the charge on specific issues and makes sure we are all fighting for precisely the same platform language. The result is a wonder to behold. A few days later, when the Republican Platform is completed, it always bears Phyllis’s imprint. Indeed, if one were to highlight all of the language that Phyllis has contributed to Republican platforms over the years, the documents would be awash in fluorescent yellow.
It was a hot summer day in August of 1997 when I first met Phyllis Schlafly. I came to her office in the Eagle Forum Education Center to interview for the position of editor of Eagle Forum’s one-of-a-kind newspaper, the Education Reporter. I was excited and thrilled to get the job and I worked at the center for six years. Phyllis was a wonderful “boss.” She provided kind but no-nonsense guidance, and she never micro-managed. I remember her bringing me newspaper clippings on topics she thought we should write about. Many were the mornings she would leave a folder of clippings and suggestions on my desk… it’s funny the little things that one remembers. But she always let me make decisions about story placement, article length and other aspects of the Education Reporter. When I began interviewing sources for investigative articles, she supported my efforts. As I reflect now on my association with Phyllis, my only regret is that I did not get an opportunity to see her more often after I left the Education Center. I realize that my regard for her transcends the very real and special person that she was; it is the power of her cause – her dedication to the right to life, to sound constitutional government, to a well-rounded liberal education, and so much more. It is also her faith in Jesus Christ and her quest for goodness, fairness and justice in the world which is so inspiring, and which continues to inspire those who today carry on her important work.
I am now 86 and I remember many years ago a group of us used to meet in a person’s house in Pasedena Hills, Missouri. Phyllis would always attend and that is where I met her. I admit at my age I do forget many things, but I always remember how intelligent she was. After these meetings in Pasedena Hills, I lost contact with her. Thanks for honoring her.
Phyllis Schlafly, what a woman of courage! Of all the women I have known she deserves the award for the most influential person of the 20th Century. . . . She saw in me so much more than I ever knew I had, by encouraging me to jump in where “angels fear to tread” and accomplish what needed to be done. She inspired and motivated so many “thirtyish” year olds in the 60’s and 70’s, by giving us responsibilities far beyond our own expectations knowing we would fulfill them with great grace and aplomb, and did we ever!
The last time I saw Phyllis was in Nashville at a meeting, but up until she was no longer on radio, I listened and we chatted whenever [an Article V constitutional convention] came up. She always called me to thank me for calling in and telling the truth about the enemies of our Constitution. What a proper and kind woman who endeared those who fought with her…she knew that we were with her in the battle, and that little touch of appreciation made her even more endearing to us. What a kind and thoughtful and wonderful gal she was!
One of my favorite things over the years has been covering Republican platform hearings… and watching Phyllis Schlafly in action at these hearings. It is awesome! Here is a person who holds no public office, usually not a party position, doesn’t want a big lobbying firm, doesn’t represent a big corporation or a special interest group, and she instills awe, fear, respect, and she has influence. . . . Phyllis has principles. And she, I believe, has not only influenced the draft of the platform, but she influenced how the changes were made. Did she win everything? Absolutely not. But she, believe me, was the only force from the outside that had any influence.
I remember making campaign calls for Ed Martin in 2010. It was a long and tedious day, but when Phyllis came into the room, there was resounding energy throughout. She didn’t just talk to the people in charge. She was so kind, warm, and friendly. She took the time to encourage all of us working the phones and even took pictures with us! I’m so glad she cared enough to encourage the troops!
My mother and Phyllis’s mother were sisters and although Phyllis is about nine years older than me, we shared the same family experiences for many years as children. Our families were very close and we often held family dinners together among other activities. I always admired Phyllis’s progress in school and watched with great interest in her early years in politics. . . . There are many individuals in Pennsylvania who also deserve much of the credit for these successes but there is no doubt that without Phyllis’s example and encouragement and hands-on support, the achievements in Pennsylvania would not have been possible, especially in light of her involvement with similar successes in many other states at the same time.
When Phyllis founded Eagle Forum, she was looking for a State Chairman in every state. When she asked me to chair Eagle Forum of Rhode Island, I said that although I’d be willing do it, as a born-again Christian I would need to feel free to express my own religious views, which, I explained, are not Catholic. To my great amazement, Phyllis replied that she was perfectly fine with that, and actually provided several opportunities in the future for me to do so. At a number of Eagle Councils, she invited me to pray in front of the religiously diverse group. I always appreciated that while modeling her own excellent speaking, writing, and leadership abilities, Phyllis unfailingly encouraged each of us Eagle Forum Chairmen do things our way, using the gifts and talents we had been given. She strengthened us by believing in our innate good judgment, and in the meantime kept training and educating us, giving us whatever would be helpful to know. Then, at each annual meeting of Eagle Council, she would find, highlight, promote, and cause to be shared individual success stories from which all of us could profit.
Well, it was back in the late 70s, and the legislature had passed the ERA twice, and it was one of the situations where, pass it and then we’ll find out what’s in it. So some of our legislators finally decided that maybe we should study what they had passed. And so it was another session of where they were, it was on the Equal Rights Amendment, and it was to find out what ERA meant. Well I was all concerned, my husband was a fire fighter in the firehouse, we’d have women in the military, we’d have women in the firehouse, and you know, I voted for equal pay for equal work, I didn’t vote for all this. So I was at the hearing, and that was my first ever time getting involved in a political arena. And to tell you how naïve I was, I thought, “we need a hero here, we need John Wayne.” So I, innocently, wrote him a letter. Well of course, he didn’t come, and nothing happened. Well at this hearing, this woman came in. And she just absolutely blew them away. She was so intelligent, so articulate. Yes, and so when Phyllis came, I had never heard of her before. She was just absolutely amazing. She was so knowledgeable. My thought was, “oh gosh, it’s John Wayne in a skirt!
Once a century, history produces someone who changes an entire field forever. Shakespeare and Thomas Edison are examples in their fields. With a unique blend of originality, hard work, humor, and toughness, mother has had an historical impact on politics. There is no one in politics who is more original, or who has been right more often, than mother has. Nearly every meaningful social debate today is framed by a position she initially took on it. She carved a place for the conservative movement in the Republican Party with her bestselling work, A Choice Not an Echo (1964), and then established the permanency of the movement with STOP ERA beginning in the summer of 1972. A bit of a baseball fan growing up, she admired how Babe Ruth hit so many home runs off of bad pitches that were unhittable by anyone else. She made it her goal to be able to hit a “home run” off of hostile questions thrown at her by the liberal media, and she perfected it. Yankee Stadium is the house that Ruth built, but the conservative movement is the house that Phyllis Schlafly built.