I knew Tish Baldridge. So did thousands of other people. As the Chief of Staff for Jacqueline Kennedy during the JFK presidency, she honed her special skill for handling people of all sorts, especially the high and mighty from around the world. She had a deft touch; she knew just what to say and knew the best way to say it.
It was no surprise that she leveraged her Kennedy years into a full time career of consulting and writing about the social graces, both in personal situations and in business environments.
She always maintained that good manners could make up for lots of missteps. That view is no longer in fashion. In fact, bad manners seems to have never been in greater display than right now, in our American presidential campaign. Both sides appear to have taken an approach that prizes the nastiest, most negative turn of words with which to skewer the opposition.
Tish and I met as co-founders of the Committee of 200, and I always looked up to her, figuratively as well as physically. She was over six feet tall and she was a formidable presence. When I was Chair of C200, she advised me on a number of issues and her advice was always spot on.
We had not spoken in years and I'm sorry about that. I am sure she handled her 80's with the same grace and special knack for the bon mot that she always had. She died this week at 86 and I'll bet she did that just the way she did everything else: with dignity.
Tish was one of a kind. That old saying is especially apt in her case: they don't make them like that anymore.