WASHINGTON – Frank C. Carlucci III, who began his broad government career as a diplomat and ended up as secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan, has died at the age of 87.
Carlucci died on Sunday at home in McLean, Virginia, of complications from Parkinson’s disease, according to his wife, Marcia Myers Carlucci.
“About two years ago he wrote a small book to his grandchildren,” she told The Associated Press on Monday. “Actually said was that the mortality catches up with everyone, and you start to think about your legacy. And he thought of his children and his grandchildren as his greatest legacy.”
Carlucci was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He served two years as a Navy officer after graduating in 1952 from Princeton University, where he was a wrestling teammate of Donald H. Rumsfeld, who would later serve twice as minister of defence. Carlucci studied at the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration and later at the Ministry of foreign affairs as a foreign service officer. His assignments took him to Africa and South America over a 12-year period.
He left the State Department in 1969, the deputy director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, where he became director in 1970. He later served in the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
Carlucci served as deputy director of the CIA under President Jimmy Carter from 1978 to 1981.
A Pentagon official biography of Carlucci said that he is the first sitting minister of defense visit to the Soviet Union. He worked at the Pentagon from 1981 to 1983 as deputy secretary under Caspar Weinberger, and returned to the Pentagon as secretary of defense in November 1987 after Weinberger resigned. He served until January 1989.
In between his positions at the Pentagon, Carlucci in the middle of the 1980s, he was chairman and chief executive officer of Sears World Trade Inc., and then moved to the White House to serve as Reagan’s national security advisor.
During his Pentagon tenure Carlucci confronted with multiple crises in the Persian Gulf. In 1988, U. S. Navy ships destroyed two Iranian oil platforms in retaliation for damage to the USS Samuel B. Roberts by an Iranian mine in the Gulf. Later that year, the USS Vincennes accidentally shot down a civilian Iranian airliner over the Gulf, killing 290 people.
After leaving the Pentagon, Carlucci joined the Carlyle Group, a Washington investment group as vice-president and managing director. He Later became chairman.
His wife, Marcia, said he believed strongly in the Bible verse from the gospel of Luke 12:48, which she recited, “For to whom much is given, of him will much be required.”
“That is how he lived his life,” she said.
Associated Press writer Ben Finley contributed from Norfolk, Virginia.