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Fordham Mourns the Passing of John W.F. Dulles and Eleanor Ritter Dulles


John W.F. Dulles, the eldest brother of Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., the Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society at Fordham, died Monday, June 23 in San Antonio, Texas. He was 95.

His wife of 68 years, Eleanor Ritter Dulles, died on June 19, four days before his death. She was 91.

A graveside service for the couple will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, June 26, at Sunset Memorial Park, 1701 Austin Highway, San Antonio, Texas.

John W.F. Dulles was born in 1913 in Auburn, N.Y., the first son of former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and Janet Pomeroy Avery.

He attended St. Bernard’s School in New York City and the Gunnery School of Washington, Conn. before earning a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 1935. He received his MBA from Harvard University in 1937.

After several years, he earned yet another degree, a bachelor’s in metallurgical engineering in 1943, which led to a career in the Brazilian mining industry.

Dulles became a full-time professor of Latin American studies in 1962 at the University of Texas at Austin. He joined the University of Arizona four years later and stayed there until 1991, when he returned to the Texas faculty.

He had just finished his 45th year of teaching this past spring and was planning his fall course material. Among his other notable accomplishments, he published 12 books on the political history of Brazil in the 20th century.

One avocation was tennis, a game he played late into his 80s. An avid correspondent, his letters to colleagues and friends, his scholarly publications and his considerations to all he knew are legendary.

His wife, Eleanor Ritter Dulles, was born in 1916 in Hunnington, W.Va, a daughter of the noted Philadelphia architect Verus Taggart Ritter and his wife, Edith Keller Ritter.

She attended the Shipley School of Bryn Mawr, Pa., before becoming a music major at Smith College, graduating in 1939. CC, as she was known to many friends, married Dulles in 1940 in Philadelphia.

While living in Monterrey, Mexico she was a great part of the Union Church of Monterrey where she was director of the choir, soloist and organist.

She also taught many young people valuable songs and biblical information during her time as director of the Sunday School of the Union Church.

In addition to Avery Cardinal Dulles, the couple is survived by four children; Edith Lawlis Dulles of Dallas, John F. Dulles of Denver, Ellen Dulles-Coelho of San Antonio and R. Avery Dulles of Austin; nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Arrangements are being handled by Porter Loring Mortuaries of San Antonio.


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