Dr. Rushworth M. Kidder, a senior columnist and features editor for The Christian Science Monitor, was well known for his writings and speeches on ethics. I never knew until today that my father, Fred Jones, met him. Dad said they attended the same church, First Church of Christ, Scientist, Naples, Florida, and that Kidder gave inspirational testimonies at the Wednesday meetings.
Kidder was respected and admired by those who regularly read his interviews with leading thinkers in The Christian Science Monitor, a daily international newspaper. From 1983 to 1990 he wrote “Perspectives”, a weekly column on social issues and trends. From 1983 to 1985 he was part of the six-person team running the paper as a feature editor.
He started with the Monitor as a London correspondent in 1979 after he taught English for ten years at Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas. He was an honors graduate of Amherst College in 1965 and earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University in English and comparative literature in 1969.
He authored a dozen books, mostly concerning ethics. His first two books were about Dylan Thomas and E.E. Cummings. His book on the poetry of E.E. Cummings won him the Explicator Literary Foundation Award in 1980.
The American Society of Newspaper Editors’ Best Newspaper Writing, 1983, published two of his Monitor essays. His most recent book was “Good Kids, Tough Choices: How Parents Can Help Their Children Do the Right Thing” published in 2010. He also wrote “Moral Courage” and “How Good People Make Tough Choices: Resolving the Dilemmas of Ethical Living.”
Kidder founded the Maine-based Institute for Global Ethics in 1990, the same year he became a trustee of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation in Flint, Michigan. He served on the advisory council of the Character Education Partnership, the research council for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, The Conference Board Working Group on Global Business Ethics Principles, the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy, the advisory board of Religion & Ethics Newsweekly on public television, the advisory board of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University, and the Values and Ethics Committee for Independent Sector in Washington, D.C. He was a Fellow of the George H. Gallup International Institute.
Kidder was born in Amherst, Massachusetts on May 8, 1944 to his father, George, a biochemistry professor at Amherst College, and his mother, the former Ruth Rushworth, his father’s lab assistant. He and his wife, Anne Elizabeth Davidson Kidder, of forty-six years, longtime residents of Maine, recently moved to Naples, Florida, where he died March 5. They have two daughters, Heather and Abby.
His ethical voice lives on forever in his words.