|Birth: ||Jun. 11, 1912|
|Death: ||Jun. 10, 2001|
Ruth Shick Montgomery, 88, a former nationally syndicated news columnist who in 1965 wrote a best-selling account of the life and predictions of astrologer Jeane Dixon, died of emphysema June 10 at home in Naples, Fla.
Until her retirement in 1969, Mrs. Montgomery was a Washington-based columnist syndicated by Hearst Headline Service and United Press International to 200 newspapers across the country. Her beats included the White House, Capitol Hill and national and foreign affairs.
She covered the Berlin Airlift in 1948, interviewed Juan Peron shortly after he had assumed the presidency of Argentina, flew to Cuba to report the coup d'etat that brought dictator Fulgencio Batista to power and was on the scene to write about the anti-British riots that led to the downfall of King Farouk in Egypt.
She covered then-Vice President Richard Nixon's trip through the Soviet Union and Poland, national political conventions, and White House news conferences from Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt through Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1945, she was the only woman journalist covering Roosevelt's funeral at the White House. In 1950, she was president of the Women's National Press Club.
Her 1965 book, "A Gift of Prophecy," about Dixon, sold more than 3 million copies and helped to build Dixon's reputation as a soothsayer. For nine years before the book's publication, Mrs. Montgomery wrote an annual column describing upcoming world events that Dixon saw in her crystal ball.
Her book described Dixon's 1956 prediction of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and her statement to friends on the morning of Nov. 22, 1963, that "this is the day it will happen." The book also included Dixon's forecast a week ahead of time of the 1968 assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.) at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.
But Mrs. Montgomery would later complain that the book's editors paid scant attention to her reservations about Dixon's clairvoyance. They "insisted on deleting most of my references to Jeane Dixon's many wrong predictions, leaving in mainly those on which she had hit correctly. . . . I was too tired to put up a proper argument, but after 'A Gift of Prophecy' became one of the most sensational best-sellers of the decade, I wished that I had more firmly stood my ground," she wrote in a 1970 book, "Hail to the Chiefs," which was mainly an account of her 25 years of covering presidents and first ladies.
Dixon's mistakes, Mrs. Montgomery wrote, included a 1954 prediction that President Dwight D. Eisenhower would not run for a second term, a prediction that Nixon would be elected president in 1960 and that Fidel Castro would fall from power in Cuba that year. She also predicted that "Russia would be the first nation to land a man on the moon, probably in 1960."
Mrs. Montgomery was born in Sumner, Ill. She attended Baylor University and began her journalism career as a cub reporter on the Waco News-Tribune in Texas before transferring to Purdue University, from which she graduated. After Purdue, she was a reporter in Louisville and later with the Detroit News, where her role in helping to solve a 1936 murder became the subject of a 1947 NBC radio series, "The Big Story." In that case, Mrs. Montgomery joined a hooded hate organization known as "The Black Legion" to find evidence that led to solving the murder. It would turn out that the chief of police was a secret member of the organization.
It was also while working in Detroit that Mrs. Montgomery obtained an interview with Doris Duke -- then the world's richest woman, who had been avoiding the press -- by hiding under a breakfast table that was wheeled into Duke's honeymoon hotel suite by room service attendants.
She came to the nation's capital in 1943 as the first woman member of the Washington bureau of the New York Daily News. In Washington, she was the first to write the story of Edgar Eisenhower's public criticisms of his younger brother, Dwight David, who was then president of the United States. She suggested in one of her columns that retirees could serve in the Peace Corps, and the idea was later adopted by President Kennedy.
Her books about Washington included "Mrs. L.B.J.," in 1964; "Flowers at the White House," in 1967; and "Once There Was a Nun," a 1962 book about the daughter of Sen. Patrick A. McCarran (D-Nev.), who left a convent after 32 years to care for her widowed mother and invalid sister after her father died.
Shortly after Nixon's inauguration as president in 1969, Mrs. Montgomery retired to Virginia Beach and later to Florida.
After "The Gift of Prophecy," she wrote 10 books on psychic phenomena, the paranormal, occult and supernatural. These included "Here and Hereafter," "The World Before Us," "Companions Along the Way," "A World Beyond," "Strangers Among Us," "Threshold to Tomorrow" and "The World to Come."
Her husband of 58 years, Robert H. Montgomery, died in 1993.
There were no immediate survivors.
By Bart Barnes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 19, 2001; Page B07
Created by: J.A. & D.S.
Record added: Mar 08, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 13564136
Added: Apr. 13, 2015
Ruth...you changed my time here, opened my eyes, provided the key to unchain my heart, and littered the path to my own mediumship with breadcrumbs. You were a blessing to this plane, and I can't wait to meet you. See you soon, Kate|
Added: Dec. 22, 2011
Added: Jul. 22, 2010
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