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Christopher Bennett Ogden

Chris OgdenAugust 27, 2022

Chris Ogden’s lifelong quest for knowledge, world-wide experience, and desire to learn about every aspect of human nature came to a tragic and abrupt halt as the result of injuries sustained in a fall near his home in Kauai, Hawaii.  Chris died after a short hospice stay in Honolulu.  Though he died unexpectedly, he left a remarkable legacy of accomplishment, a devoted circle of family and friends, and keen observations on the life’s path he followed.

Chris was born February 9, 1945 in Providence, Rhode Island to Michael Joseph and Agnes Bennett Ogden.  He came to Yale from Portsmouth Priory School in Rhode Island.  He was a resident of Timothy Dwight College, a history major, and was active in the Mott Wooley Council, Yale Key, the Yale Prom Committee and Senior Advisory Board.  His love for travel and adventure during that time was exemplified the summer before his senior year, when he hitchhiked through Asia during the buildup to the Vietnam War.  That helps explain his choice upon graduation to enter the Defense Language Institute to gain working knowledge of several languages, principally Laotian.  He continued his service in the U.S. Army as an intelligence officer.

Following his service in the Army, he began his journalism career with the API Wire Service in London.  Within two years, he was hired by Time Magazine, as a Correspondent in Moscow.  He served the same role in London, then in Los Angeles.  In 1976 he moved to the Washington Bureau, and worked as the Senior Diplomatic Correspondent with the State department, then shifted to cover the White House.  In 1981 he moved to Chicago for Time as the Midwest Bureau Chief and then as Bureau Chief in London.   During his long career with Time, he covered six presidential campaigns, and offered valuable analysis and insight into every Secretary of State during those years.

He “retired” from active journalism at Time, but kept up his professional work.   He authored three books:  Maggie, a biography of U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1990); Life of the Party, The Biography of Pamela Digby Churchill Hayward Harriman, (1994), and Legacy:  A Biography of Moses and Walter Annenberg (1999).

Beyond his professional accomplishments, there was also a consistent pattern of service and civic involvement.  During his years in Chicago, for example, he was active with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Access Living Unlimited, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  In retirement in Hawaii, he volunteered at the Food bank and was active in a Youth scholarship program.

He is survived by his wife, Linda Fuselier, a son, daughter-in-law and grandson, and a daughter.  His first marriage to Diana (Deedy) Ogden ended in divorce.

Linda and Chris enjoyed 22 years of adventure, travel, and companionship.  They were married on a game preserve in Africa, lived for a time in Alexandria, Virginia, but then gave in to their shared wanderlust.  According to Linda, they sold all their goods, and following stopovers in London, Paris, and Rome, wound up in Kauai in 2018.  There they read, did volunteer work, took daily walks, and enjoyed time together after long and productive careers.

His wife summed it up, saying he was a good guy, a good father, valued his Yale experience and the friends from there.  She said “He was the most interested and interesting man she ever met.”

— James Roberts


Chris and I did not know each other at Yale. I was three years ahead of him, which was about the only time I ever felt ahead of him. Yale was a coincidence in our friendship, not its foundation.

Still, our respective careers were interwoven, he as a journalist/essayist/author and me as a Foreign Service Officer. In the 1970s, Chris covered the State Department for Time Magazine while I was a staffer in the Secretary of State’s office. In the 1980s, I was at the London Embassy when Chris took over Time’s London Bureau. When we both lived in Washington at the end of the 80s, our homes in Georgetown were two blocks apart. And in the early 90s, when I returned to London for a third time, Chris, who by now had moved on from journalist to biographer, often cropped up on research duty.

At heart, Chris was an intellectual traveler. As a reporter, he wanted to know why leaders succeeded or failed and why policies worked or sputtered out. He was intrigued by the interplay between politics and personality. Chris possessed none of that crusty cynicism that characterized many of his journalistic colleagues. He wasn’t really after the story; he was after the truth. And he possessed that rare coin in the news realm: he was trusted. Moreover, he was superb company – witty and joyful — and he had a smile that could shatter glass.

Chris wrote three biographies: Margaret Thatcher (the first by an American); Pamela Harriman and Walter Annenberg. These were not meant to be exhaustive, only illuminating. And each succeeded in revealing the character of its subject and why they were who they were. His style, as always, was fluent and to the point, with light touches of irony. Chris was a good read. This may have been because he was such a voluminous reader himself – a Kindle was never far from his hand.

To celebrate the Millennium, Chris met Linda Fusilier, a Washington businesswoman with the additional attributes of beauty, brains, charm and humor – a bingo match. They lived in Alexandria, Virginia, and every year set off by car across the United States, taking in the grand sights and searching out the hideaway eateries. Eventually, the travel fever became too much. They sold up the house and headed off to see the world, footloose and ever-curious. Alas, they only got as far as Hawaii before Covid waylaid them and they settled into a beach house
to await the green light. Such plans they had!

There was something avian about Chris. He was tall and slender with sharp features. He was often on the move and always alert. He could spot something at a distance which the rest of us might only dimly perceive. He could crack nuts. And he liked to soar.


I was fortunate to have Chris Ogden as my roommate/suitemate our junior and senior years. The Ogden family was wonderful to me. I had no family nearby, and they took care of me on more than one holiday. I remember playing golf at Point Judith Club with his newspaper editor father and the local pro. Chris and I would go to some bad Rhode Island bars where everyone drank Narragansett beer. Most importantly, Chris was enlightening because being with him I learned there was a wide world out there beyond the small Texas town where I grew up, and Yale and New Haven. He would continue to do that for the next 55 years.
Chris had an amazing life. Immediately following graduation he went to language school and became an intelligence officer in Southeast Asia. As a journalist with UPI and then a long stint with Time, he was able to report on that wide world for the rest of us. We were able to visit him at some of stops including Chicago, London, and Washington, D.C.
I always took pride in his dispatches, and his columns with Time, and then read his top notch biographies of Margaret Thatcher, Pamela Harriman, and the Annenburgs. Chris would later lecture all over the world. With his vast knowledge of the world and foreign affairs, I always thought he would have been a terrific talking head, but he was humble and not a self promoter, and too honest to have fit.
In recent years he seemed to have found true contentment with his wife Linda, living a contemplative life. He and Linda would often send links to articles on politics, history, culture, and sports to my wife Dot and me. I did the same, but always had a sneaky feeling that he had already seen it! He was interested in everything and everyone, and never was a cynic. I am writing a book, and Chris has been my biggest supporter giving me some invaluable advice on the process. In August I forwarded a New York Times article on Willie Nelson, and I was concerned when I did not hear back immediately, and then we heard from Linda about his fall and the horrible news he was not expected to live. It is heartening to know that his papers will go to the Beinecke Library. I hope future generations that study them will realize what a special person he was.