The Leadership Institute Mourns the Loss of Eugene H. Methvin

January 27, 2012 | By Lauren Hart

Eugene H. Methvin, a member of the Leadership Institute’s Board of Directors for 10 years, passed away at his home in McLean, Virginia on January 19, 2012.

Gene dedicated his life to fight against the evils of communism, crime, and corruption. Over his 42-year career, Eugene contributed more than 100 articles to the Reader’s Digest on topics ranging from the U.S. Supreme Court, civil liberties and constitutional law, the U.S. defense posture, Kremlin politics, and U.S.-Soviet relations.  

His articles on organized crime in Reader’s Digest led to the passage of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970.  In 1983, President Ronald Reagan appointed Gene to the President’s Commission on Organized Crime as one of its 19 members.  Eugene directed the commission’s investigation and hearings on labor-management racketeering.

Starting in the mid 1960s, he was a great personal mentor of Morton Blackwell, who founded LI in 1979.

Gene was author of Rise of Radicalism, one of the Leadership Institute’s Read to Lead books.  In the book, Eugene examines what might be called the fundamentals of leftism: propaganda, confrontation, organization, and violence.

“I consider myself fortunate to have been allowed to play the piccolo in the great parade of American democracy for nearly half a century,” Gene wrote before his death. “During that time, the American people defeated and brought down two evil empires: the Teamsters Union and the Soviet Union, and I and my piccolo had a hand in both. That is enough for me.”

He is survived by two daughters, Helen Methvin Payne, an architect, and Claudia Methvin, a physician; and two granddaughters.

Funeral services will be held at Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 1125 Savile Lane, McLean, VA on Saturday, January 28 at 2 p.m. He will be interred in Vienna, Georgia.

The following is from Gene’s official biography:

Eugene was born on September 19, 1934 in Vienna, Georgia to a family in the newspaper business.  His parents published a country weekly, The Vienna News, where Eugene began his journalism education by sleeping on a bale of newsprint every Thursday night while his parents met the weekly deadline.

At the age of four, Eugene got into bucket of ink behind the family’s flatbed cylinder press, and not even a gasoline bath could get all the printer’s ink out of him.  At the age of five Eugene became a reporter, even before he learned to write.  The youngster would walk around his hometown asking residents to write down their news for him.

Eugene graduated cum laude from the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in 1955.  He went on to be a pilot for three years in the U.S. Air Force before joining the Washington Daily News as a general assignment in 1958.  Later, Eugene did graduate study in philosophy and international relations at the Youngstown, American, and George Washington Universities before joining the staff at Reader’s Digest in 1960.

With more than four decades with the monthly magazine Reader’s Digest, Eugene served as associate editor and then senior editor of the bureau in Washington, D.C.   After his retirement in 1996, he continued to serve as a contributing editor.

In 1995, the Washington D.C. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists named Eugene to its “Hall of Fame” for “exemplary professional achievements, outstanding service to other members of the profession, and lifelong dedication to the highest standards of journalism.”

Leadership Institute staff and supporters thank Gene for his 10 years of service, and mourn his loss.