Peter Rodman died a few hours ago, brought down by a seemingly endless burden of afflictions from leukemia to pneumonia, infections of all sorts, maybe a stroke. It was just too much, even for this strong man who had every reason to fight on. He leaves wife Veronique, and two fine children, Theodora and Nicholas, she a grad of U of Chicago, he about to be.
Peter Rodman was one of the most significant members of his Washington generation, and long after those whose names routinely appear on today’s front pages have gone, his name will be remembered and his influence will endure. He was at Henry Kissinger’s side from Harvard through the White House and State, he was indispensable in the crafting of K’s unforgettable memoirs. He then held a series of important jobs in government, culminating in a nearly eight-year stint as assistant secretary of defense, which he only left a few months ago. He was universally respected, a rare fine gentleman in a town that clones boors, and a first-class mind with the rhetorical skills to express his thoughts.
Peter was one of the very first people I met in Washington in 1977, and for a couple of years we probably had lunch three times a week. He had a fantastic appetite, a wonderful sense of humor (even though clouded by his incomprehensible love of the Red Sox), and an exemplary attention to accuracy and detail. To say, as we almost always do, that he will be missed is a grave understatement. He was a real rarity, a unique talent, a gentle soul inside a tough fighter’s skin, a dear friend with a lot left to give us that we will now have to sort out for ourselves. Unfair that he was taken from us so young.