Patricia Buckley Bozell, 81; Activist Founded a Catholic Opinion Journal

Patricia Buckley Bozell, whose family included commentator William F. Buckley Jr. (with her at center), helped start Triumph, a journal of Catholic orthodoxy.
Patricia Buckley Bozell, whose family included commentator William F. Buckley Jr. (with her at center), helped start Triumph, a journal of Catholic orthodoxy. (Family Photo )
By Adam Bernstein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Patricia Buckley Bozell, 81, who was a matriarch of a prominent conservative family and helped start Triumph, an opinion journal of Catholic orthodoxy, died July 12 at her home in Washington. She had throat cancer.

Mrs. Bozell was born into a Catholic family whose fortune originated in Central and South American oil fields. Among her nine siblings were the late William F. Buckley Jr., who founded the magazine National Review, and James L. Buckley, a former Conservative Party U.S. senator from New York.

She married L. Brent Bozell Jr., a National Review editor with whom she launched Triumph in 1966. The magazine lasted nearly a decade and, as the second-in-command editor, Mrs. Bozell helped shape its voice against legalized abortion and in favor of the traditional church in response to Vatican II reforms.

Among her 10 children was L. Brent Bozell III, who began the conservative Media Research Center watchdog group.

Mrs. Bozell was less public than many in her family, but in March 1971 she attracted press attention with an attempted physical confrontation with radical feminist Ti-Grace Atkinson at a Catholic University forum.

Before an audience of 800, Atkinson said the Virgin Mary was more "used" than if she had participated in a sexual conception.

"I can't let her say that," Mrs. Bozell yelled, as she ran toward Atkinson and tried to slap her. Her hand struck a microphone.

Afterward, Mrs. Bozell told The Washington Post: "If it comes down to violence for social protest, I do believe in it if there's adequate provocation. I went in there, heard blasphemy and acted."

Patricia Lee Buckley was born April 23, 1927, in New York City and raised in Sharon, Conn., and Camden, S.C.

After an early education abroad, she graduated from the private Nightingale-Bamford School in New York.

She received her bachelor's degree from Vassar College in 1948 and married Bozell the next year. The marriage was at times complicated by Brent Bozell's manic depression, diagnosed in the early 1970s. He died in 1997.

Since 1982, she had been a freelance editor at Regnery Publishing as well as National Review, American Spectator magazine and Communio: International Catholic Review.

With James R. Whelan, she was the co-author of "Catastrophe in the Caribbean: The Failure of America's Human Rights Policy in Central America" (1984).

Her memberships included the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic church in Washington and the Cosmos Club. She was a longtime patron of the Washington Bach and Folger consorts as well as the Shakespeare Theatre.

Survivors include six sons, L. Brent Bozell III of Alexandria, William Bozell of Prescott, Ariz., James Bozell of Hagerstown, Chris Bozell of Houston, John Bozell of Soria, Spain, and the Rev. Michael Bozell of Solesmes, France; four daughters, Kathryn Brewster of Somers, Conn., Maureen Bozell of Alexandria, Aloise Bozell of Denver and Patricia Bozell of Washington; two brothers; two sisters; 24 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.

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