Doris McClory, widow of former Cong. Robert McClory, dies

  • Doris McClory

    Doris McClory

Updated 11/30/2011 6:08 AM

She never held public office but Doris Hibbard McClory, a fixture in Washington D.C. and Lake County, was well known and respected in Republican circles.

Through her many activities and associations, relatives joke that McClory, the widow of former Congressman Robert McClory of Lake Bluff, may have known more people than her late husband.


She died Saturday at age 81 in a health care residence near her home in Washington.

"She was a go-to person," said her stepson, Mike McClory. "People would say about her, `If you want to get something done in Washington, call Doris McClory.' She was a very persistent person."

Though her husband died in 1988, Doris McClory maintained a close connection to Republican politics, volunteering for years at the White House. She also had a home in Gurnee and would return to the area several times a year to take an active role locally as well.

"They don't make them like that anymore," said Antonietta "Ant" Simonian, former executive director of the Lake County Republican Federation, who knew Doris McClory about 20 years.

"She was one of the most gracious ladies I ever met. She always had a smile on her face, never had a negative thing to say about anybody."

Doris McClory was born in Rochester, N.Y. and graduated from Principia College in Elsah, Il. She moved to New York and worked as an actress and model before getting involved in television production.

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She was a producer for many years with the Goodson-Todman organization, working on shows such as "I've Got a Secret" and "What's My Line". Robert McClory, who had been widowed about a year earlier, appeared as a guest on the latter in the late 1960s. He served 20 years in Congress beginning in 1963.

"He met her on the show," Mike McClory said of his stepmother. "Doris kind of brought the spark back into his life."

In a 1997 interview regarding the renaming of a portion of the North Shore bike path in honor of her late husband, Doris McClory recalled one of their early dates as being a bike ride through Central Park in New York. The pair married in 1968.

"Doris came from New York and she fit into Washington," Mike McClory said. "She hit the ground running."

Doris McClory served as president of the Congressional Club in Washington in the late 1970s and was a board member of the Washington Performing Arts Society. She also volunteered at the White House and the Kennedy Center, and was active in the Capital Children's Museum and other organizations, including the prestigious International Neighbors Club One.

"They form relationships with the ambassadors and their families from other countries," Mike McClory said.

Roy Czajkowski, a former staffer for then-Congressman Mark Kirk, became good friends with Doris McClory. He recalled when a contingent of about 60 local veterans went to the Capitol to see the World War II Memorial.


"Once we got to D.C., she kind of took over the operation. She was very hands-on. She just really had a way with people," he said. "When she came in a room in D.C., she was definitely known and appreciated for her warmth."

Survivors include three stepchildren, Oliver of El Cerrito, Ca, Michael of Arlington, Va., and Beatrice Etienne of Geneva, Switzerland and six grandchildren.

Burial is private on Friday. A memorial service is set for 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 4 at the Deerpath Inn, 255 E. Illinois Road, Lake Forest.

Donations can be made to the Lynn House, 4400 West Braddock Road, Alexandria, Va., 22304.

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