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George Elsey, Key Adviser to Roosevelt and Truman, Dies at 97

By    |   Saturday, 09 Jan 2016 10:42 PM

George Elsey, who served Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman and is considered one of the last survivors of the White House inner circle during and immediately following World War II, has died at age 97.

Elsey, who decoded a top-secret message about the bombing of Hiroshima and handed it to Truman on Aug. 5, 1945, died Dec. 30 in Tustin, Calif., The New York Times reports.

Elsey was a naval officer during the war, working in the Map Room on the ground floor of the Roosevelt White House. He sometimes wheeled the disabled Roosevelt around the room, the Times reports, and once bumped into Winston Churchill in a dark hallway and transmitted secret messages to Joseph Stalin.

In 1944, Elsey took a leave from the White House to record the Normandy invasion as a naval historian.

After Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945, Elsey remained at the White House, serving President Truman as an aide to Clark Clifford, the president's chief naval adviser, according to the Times.

He accompanied Truman to Potsdam that summer for his meeting with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin to negotiate the division of postwar Europe.

Elsey worked Truman's re-election campaign in 1948, later becoming one of the president's six administrative assistants. He left the White House in 1951.

A native of Palo Alto, Calif., Elsey studied history at Harvard and Princeton universities. He retired from the Navy as a commander.

Elsey, after leaving the White House, worked in business and became president of the American Red Cross, the Times reports.

A widower, Elsey’s survivors include his son, Howard, a daughter, Anne Kranz, and two grandsons.



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George Elsey, who served Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman and is considered one of the last survivors of the White House inner circle during and immediately following World War II, has died at age 97. Elsey, who decoded a top-secret message about the bombing...
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Saturday, 09 Jan 2016 10:42 PM
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