December 19, 2008
A mover and shaker in the conservative movement passed away yesterday after almost four decades of leadership. Paul M. Weyrich, chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation and first president of The Heritage Foundation, died yesterday morning after battling diabetes for years. He was 66.
Weyrich is remembered as a behind-the-scenes advocate for conservatism in Washington.
"Paul was not widely known to the general population, but he was extremely well known to the conservative movement," said Americans Family Association chairman Don Wildmon on OneNewsNow. “A lot of people do not know that Paul was an ordained elder in his church and a very devout Christian.
"He did from time to time have a high temper, but after he let go of his temper he came back and he was there. He was human like all of us....We'll surely miss him."
Dozens conservatives leaders honored Weyrich’s commitment to conservative causes at a September dinner, where a “21-Gun Salute” praised his leadership on video. Rush Limbaugh, Tom Delay, Pat Robertson, Newt Gingrich, and Gary L. Bauer were among those who offered video tributes.
"Paul was a real keeper of the flame," said Bauer, president of American Values, on learning of Weyrich’s death.
“[H]e was one of those men who constantly reminded conservatives in government of the principles they believed in when they were out of government. And that's a very important role to play, because over the years, as we know, we've seen many of 'our people' get into positions of power and then no longer be 'our people,’” Bauer told OneNewsNow.
For his dedication to a lifestyle of conservatism, Weyrich won The Heritage Foundation’s Care Boothe Luce Aware in 2005.
Focus on the Family founder Dr. James Dobson joined those mourning the loss of Weyrich.
“Had there been no Paul Weyrich, there would be no conservative movement as we know it,” Dobson said in a statement.
He continued, “American families have lost one of their staunchest and most effective advocates. Paul Weyrich fought tirelessly for three decades to protect the preborn, preserve traditional marriage and ensure that people of faith had a voice in shaping the public-policy that affected their lives. “