Yesterday I received the sad news that Jon Basil Utley, publisher of The American Conservative magazine, had passed away. Jon was a friend and a truly unique gentleman, whom I much admired.
Here’s a note from John Burtka the Executive Director at The American Conservative, about Jon:
With deep personal sadness, I am writing to inform you that our beloved publisher, board member and friend, Jon Basil Utley, passed away on Friday. He was a larger-than-life institution at TAC and in Washington and will be missed dearly.
Utley, who had served as TAC’s publisher since 2013, devoted his career to promoting freedom and peace throughout the world. Born in Moscow, Utley saw firsthand the cruelties of that country’s communist regime. His father, a Russian trade official, was sent to the gulag and then executed for being one of three leaders of a hunger strike in the camps. His mother, Freda Utley, emigrated to America and became a prominent anticommunist author and activist.
Jon Utley picked up the torch, and, after working in business for 15 years in Latin America, became a foreign correspondent and established himself as a leading activist in the anticommunist struggle. Through his writings, he was called upon by the Reagan Administration to broadcast on the Voice of America about communist and Third World issues. Subsequently, he became a leading voice against America’s military interventions in the Middle East. Utley worked tirelessly to promote a constitutional conservatism that cherished peace while promoting free markets and supply side economics in the former Soviet nations and in the Third World.
On May 9 2019, Utley received TAC’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award at our spring gala. His longtime advocacy for freedom, peace, prudence, and a more restrained foreign policy made him a fitting recipient, and we we’re thrilled to honor him with the inaugural award.
In memory of Jon, I encourage you to take ten minutes this week to watch the tribute video that we put together for him entitled, “Jon Utley: A Lifetime of Courage.” And please keep Jon and his family in your thoughts and prayers in the days and weeks to come.
John A. Burtka, IV