Faith Ryan Whittlesey

† February 21, 1939 – May 21, 2018 US Ambassador to Switzerland in two tours under President Ronald Reagan Chairman and President of the Swiss-American Foundation. Ambassador Whittlesey served on Legacy’s Board from 2009 and gave three hours of audiovisual interview to Legacy.

Ambassador Whittlesey was a Pennsylvania Republican politician and served as a Senior Staff member of the White House. She was renowned for her effort to communicate Ronald Reagan’s entire policy agenda to U.S. opinion leaders and for bringing together for the first time in the Reagan White House evangelical, Catholic, and other conservative religious groups who opposed legalized abortion.

Ambassador Whittlesey served twice for a total of nearly 5 years as US Ambassador to Switzerland and served for two years on the Reagan White House Senior Staff as Assistant to the President for Public Liaison.

She was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar association in 1964, and by 1972 she was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She had canvassed door-to-door for this race while pregnant with her third child, William.

Whittlesey served as US Ambassador to Switzerland from 1981 to 1983. In her first term as Swiss Ambassador she initiated negotiations in an acrimonious dispute between the U.S. and Switzerland that later led to the signing of a “Memorandum of Understanding on Insider Trading”, the first major changing of the strict tradition of Swiss banking secrecy.

She resumed her duties representing the U.S. in Bern for a second term in 1985 and resigned as ambassador in 1988.

An enthusiastic gardener, Whittlesey was presented with a new Tea Rose variety named Faith Whittlesey, after her.

After leaving Switzerland, Ambassador Whittlesey served as president of the American Swiss Foundation. She served on several corporate boards, including the U.S. Advisory Board for Nestle. From 1989 through 2012 she served as a board member of Schindler Elevator Corporation. She also served on the board of directors of Christian Freedom International, an organization dedicated to assisting persecuted Christians around the world. For several years she served on the Newsmax International Advisory Board.

She served on Legacy’s Advisory Board from 2009. Legacy remains grateful for her service and for the three hours of life story interview she gave.