The Aug. 31 obituary of Joan Braden touched on many of Joan's accomplishments [Metro]. But to say she was a "confidante to some of Washington's most powerful men" is only half right. Your reporter's observation of Braden's relationship with Jackie Kennedy would appear to suggest she enjoyed the confidence of powerful individuals of both sexes. I also was unsettled by the suggestion in regard to the nature of Robert McNamara's relationship with the deceased, particularly in regard to Joan's history.
Your reporter stated that Braden was present at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles when Sen. Robert Kennedy was assassinated. He is apparently unaware of another role she played on that tragic evening. Joan and Tom Braden took charge of the Kennedy children following the terrible events of that night. Together they attempted to shield the youngsters from some of the more callous members of the press, who were attempting to ask the children how they felt about the murder of their father only hours earlier.
In reading your obituary I could only think how unfortunate it was that no one was present to shield the Braden children and grandchildren from your reporter's callous disregard of feeling and lack of decorum.
I have had the privilege of being a guest in the Braden home. Joan had a rare talent with which she allowed extraodinary people to feel comfortable in an ordinary way, while simultaneously making ordinary guests feel like extraordinary people. She was a gracious woman who deserved better than the vulgar allusion your reporter felt it necessary to include.
-- Thomas M. Wilson