The OPC is saddened to learn that longtime OPC member, Governor and supporter Jacqueline Albert Simon died on Aug. 10 at the age of 98.
We will post more remembrances on this page as friends and colleagues send them in. Those who wish to add their thoughts may send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please revisit this page and scroll down if you want to read more as comments are added.
OPC Foundation President William J. Holstein wrote a message of condolence to members of the foundation’s board, saying that Albert Simon was a “staunch supporter” of the foundation, and contributed to the I.F. Stone award, along with Rick MacArthur, and endowed the foundation’s Flora Lewis award herself.
“She adored the young women who won the Flora Lewis and kept in touch with them for years, offering wise words of counsel and support. As a group, they have flourished. Allan Dodds Frank, Larry Martz and I (and Sonya Fry) were in touch with her in her final weeks. She accepted that the cancer was going to end her life because she could not withstand the treatments. But she was a very classy lady to the end, telling Allan and me, ‘I lived a good life. Don’t be sorry for me.’ As Larry put it, paraphrasing now, she was Jackie to the very end. I met Jackie on the board of the OPC in the 1991 time frame. She took an instant interest in my work and myself and we remained friends and protectors for three decades. We both lost spouses and helped each other through those tragedies. So for me, her loss is intensely personal. Jackie, we all will miss you.”
Holstein wrote a more detailed remembrance that you can read in full here.
OPC Executive Director Patricia Kranz remembered Albert Simon’s mentorship and support for women.
“Jackie was elegant, witty and unfailingly polite. She interviewed me when I applied for the OPC Executive Director job in 2014, and after I took the position she frequently invited me to lunch to swap ideas and give me support and encouragement. I was only one of many woman who benefitted from her ideas and generous spirit. She was loved and will be missed.”
OPC Past President Allan Dodds Frank wrote a remembrance that you can read in full here. An excerpt follows:
“Jackie was a sweetheart, always charming, and funny with a sly sense of humor and a great laugh. Once she got into the news business, she was dedicated to the pursuit of serious journalism, largely as the U.S. bureau chief and associate editor of Politique Internationale, a Paris-based French journal that specialized in erudite interviews with world leaders. She also mentored dozens of students as a resident scholar at the New York University Institute of French Studies. As a longtime board member of the OPC and the OPC Foundation, her advice was soft-spoken, firm and sage. Her wisdom and perspective quietly commanded attention. Nuance was her métier.”
A longtime friend of Albert Simon, Barbara Chase-Riboud, wrote a poem to honor her memory, titled “Performance,” which you can read here. Accompanying the poem was the following introduction:
“Jacqueline Albert Simon and I enjoyed a 50-year friendship that began in ’69 when she commissioned a sculpture, Time Womb/Jacqueline for the foyer of her Fifth Avenue apartment from my gallery Betty Parsons. We remained friends even after her being a North Star for me in New York and I being a kind of French comfort for her in Paris. We had lost our close contact recently but I hope she was able to see “The Albino” installed in the new MoMA.”
OPC Foundation Executive Director Jane Reilly wrote that “in more than 15 years as Executive Director of the OPC Foundation, I don’t think I ever received an email from Jackie that didn’t include a complement or words of encouragement. She was the most gracious and most elegant woman I ever knew. Such a great loss.”
Former OPC Executive Director Sonya Fry shared her thoughts, which are posted in entirety here.
“Knowing that Jackie’s health was failing, I called her a few weeks ago and much to my surprise her voice was strong, she knew exactly who I was and we shared and mostly laughed over OPC stories, dramas and people over the years,” Fry said. “Her mind was as sharp as ever; as well her wit was intact. When I was hired by the OPC in the summer of 1994 Jackie along with Elinor Griest and Anita Diamant took me under their wings and helped me navigate the world of journalists.”
2019 Flora Lewis Fellowship winner Daphne Psaledakis sent a message of condolence to the OPC.
“I’m so grateful that I got a chance to meet and get to know Jackie. She was an amazing woman, and it meant so much to me to have her support and advice. She told the most wonderful stories, was so kind and classy, and was such a strong supporter of women in journalism and her Flora Lewis girls. Jackie will be missed very much.”
OPC Past President David A. Andelman shared his remembrance, which is posted in full here. Below is an excerpt:
“I had the good fortune to stumble across Jackie Simon, as her vast and wondrous world really knew Jacqueline Albert Simon, more than thirty-five years ago when, in the early 1980s, as Paris correspondent for CBS News, I first wrote for the remarkable quarterly magazine, Politique Internationale. It was the founding editor and publisher, Patrick Wajsman, the French journalist, diplomat, political scientist, and philosophe, who introduced us with great pride and enthusiasm.”
The following is a tribute to Albert Simon from her dear friend and colleague Patrick Wajsman, founder and editor of Politique Internationale, and his wife Catherine, writing from Megève in the Haute-Savoie Region of France, and translated by Andelman. Jackie served as his North American bureau chief from the revue’s earliest days in 1978.
“Dear friends, I am far from Paris and have just heard the sad news. Catherine joins me in telling you that we are with you in heart and mind. As you know, we loved Jackie dearly and we often speak to her with great affection. We shared marvelous moments with Jackie and Pierre that we will not forget. Love, Catherine and Patrick”
OPC Past President Larry Martz said that Albert Simon was “was the epitome of the Wise Woman – an old-fashioned concept, but then, she was a thoroughly modern woman who also embodied old-fashioned virtues. She saw clearly through any number of complex problems, and for at least twenty years, successive OPC presidents have relied on her counsel in dealing with crises large and small. Her devotion to good journalism was complete, and she relished her interviews (and resulting relationships) with scholars, celebrities and statesmen including Henry Kissinger. She was a continuing mentor to the winners of the Flora Lewis fellowship that she endowed for the OPC Foundation, as she was to generations of graduate students she taught at NYU, where she had earned her own PhD in political science. Jackie’s courage and graciousness were never more evident than in her final illness. She told me and my wife Anne, a kindred spirit, that she had had a good life and was ready to go, but she hoped she would last into August, since there were several birthdays in her family in late July, and she wouldn’t want to spoil them with any sad notes. Serene to the end, she called each of us to say goodbye and assure us that she was content. She was a great lady, and it was a pleasure and a privilege to be her friend.”
OPC Past President Michael Serrill wrote about her contributions during OPC board meetings.
“It is with great sadness we note Jackie’s passing. She was not only a gracious lady and devoted member of the OPC for many years, but an active participant in its operations. She did not hesitate to challenge club leaders or demand explanations if she thought a decision was wrong-headed. The club will miss her wisdom.”
OPC Past President Marcus Mabry said that “Jackie was une femme formidable!” adding “She will be missed!”
OPC Governor Linda Fasulo responded soon after board members learned the news.
“So, so sorry to hear this. I’ve known Jackie for a long time — she was the epitome of elegance, charm, generosity and talent. A rare person. She will be much missed.”
OPC Governor Alix Freedman remembered Albert Simon and their shared colleague, Flora Lewis.
“I really only knew Jackie at a remove—through her dear friend, Flora Lewis, whom I knew very well. Jackie was a Grande Dame in the best sense of the word. Her elegance, lucid grasp of world events and generosity made an indelible impression on the many lives she touched. So, too, did her wry sense of humor, neatly captured in her parting note from the OPC: ‘I will miss planning, talking, arguing and yelling over each other’s voices.'”
Longtime OPC member and Governor Bill Collins wrote:
“Jackie was a passionate believer in the power of journalism and a true advocate for women. She was an inspiration working well into her 90s. I’ll always remember her as a kind friend who ended every voice mail message with ‘love to all.'”
Albert Simon joined the OPC in 1990 and served several times as officer and member of the OPC’s Board of Governors. In 2016, the OPC hosted a celebration for Albert Simon as she retired from the OPC Board of Governors. You can read that story here.
She frequently spoke at the OPC Foundation Scholar Awards Luncheon before presenting the Flora Lewis award to each year’s winner. You can see a video clip of her comments from this video from February 2019.
Below is a slideshow of a few photos from the OPC’s recent archives.
Jacqueline Albert-Simon attending her retirement celebration as she stepped down from the OPC board in July 2016.
Albert-Simon, left, with 2019 Flora Lewis Fellowship winner Daphne Psaledakis at the Scholar Awards Luncheon. Photo: Sangsuk Sylvia Kang
Albert-Simon poses with a message of support for four Al Jazeera journalists who were detained by Egyptian authorities in February 2014. This photo was taken after an OPC board meeting along with other OPC Governors as part of the #FreeAJStaff social media campaign.
Jacqueline Albert-Simon, left, with past OPC President Michael Serrill.
Left to right: OPC Executive Director Patricia Kranz, Jacqueline Albert-Simon and former OPC Treasurer Tim Ferguson.
Left to right: Jacqueline Albert-Simon, Bill Holstein and Allan Dodds Frank.
Jacqueline Albert-Simon, left, and OPC Past President Marcus Mabry. Photo: Patricia Kranz