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Lowman Henry
Lowman Henry

Lincoln Blog

by Lowman S. Henry

A Tribute to Richard M. Scaife

July 09, 2014

We are going to end our program a bit differently this week to commemorate the passing of our friend Richard M. Scaife. It is not exaggeration to say that without him neither the Lincoln Institute nor this radio program would exist.

It is rare in life that someone you meet as a very young man becomes a lifelong partner in your progress. I met Dick Scaife shortly after graduating from college when he supported my first run for public office back in 1978. Throughout my career, in politics and professionally, he has been a role model, a supporter and an inspiration.

When we founded the Lincoln Institute in 1993, Dick's Allegheny Foundation was one of the first major funders to back us. He supported us through the years and again was among the first to step forward in the financing we needed to launch our nationally-syndicated program, American Radio Journal in 2007.

Dick Scaife passed away on July 4th. I found it entirely fitting that one of America's great patriots would join Thomas Jefferson and John Adams in departing for their heavenly reward on the anniversary of the founding of our republic.

Over the past few days the tributes, richly deserved, have poured forth honoring Mr. Scaife's life work. One in particular struck me as the writer observed that having been born into a family with great wealth Dick Scaife could have just gone along for the ride and enjoyed himself.

In his own way, I think he did enjoy himself.

He took particular delight in his publishing empire. He bought a little daily newspaper in Greensburg, Pennsylvania and built it into Trib Total Media. The Tribune-Review is today one of the most successful and professional newspapers in the nation - and one of the few growing in circulation during the digital age. He was renowned in Pittsburgh for his work to preserve historical sites such as Station Square, and for his patronage of the arts.

Dick Scaife also made an impact on the national stage. A very big impact. He helped to found such institutions as the Heritage Foundation and indeed became a Founding Father of the national conservative movement as we know it today.

But there is one area all the laurels have missed and that is the role Richard M. Scaife played at the state level. He helped found or support organizations such as Pennsylvanians for Effective Government, the Allegheny Foundation for Public Policy, the Commonwealth Foundation, the Young Conservatives of Pennsylvania and of course, we here at the Lincoln Institute. Few of these organizations would exist, and certainly none would be anywhere near as effective as they are, were it not for his support of our efforts.

And so our nation, state and the Pittsburgh area have lost a true patriot; one who - like our founding fathers - pledged his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor to help make America the greatest nation on the face of the earth.

Thank you, Mr. Scaife, and may you rest in peace.

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