Charles W. Colson, former Special Counsel to President Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1973 and later a noted Evangelical Christian leader and cultural commentator, has passed away. The renowned Republican, who tried to leave no stone unturned to ensure the re-election of President Richard M. Nixon, left his loved ones on April 21 at Inova Fairfax Hospital. Charles Colson was 80 years old at the time of his death. According to a statement by his family spokesperson, Michelle Farmer, he suffered a brain hemorrhage earlier this month. Earlier this year, Colson underwent surgery to remove a blood clot in his brain after he fell ill during a speech at a Christian worldview conference.
Charles Colson was a resident of Naples, Fla., but he kept an apartment in the Leesburg area. He got a lot of popularity especially during the reign of President Nixon. He was even referred to as Nixon’s "hatchet man."
Colson was defamed at the height of the Watergate affair for being named as one of the Watergate Seven, and pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for attempting to defame Pentagon Papers defendant Daniel Ellsberg. After having stayed in the federal Maxwell Prison in Alabama for seven months, he became the first member of the Nixon administration to be incarcerated for Watergate-related charges.
Charles Colson became a notorious person majorly due to his dirty tricks and political gambles. All these traits overshadowed his achievements as a darkly brilliant political strategist. He helped lay the foundation for the Nixon landslide of November 1972 by appealing to disgruntled Democrats and blue-collar minority voters.
According to Washington Post, Colson's biographer, , a former British government minister who went through a similar life story and had to face similar allegations, talked about him by saying, “He transferred his huge drive, intellect and maniacal energy from the service of Richard Nixon to the service of Jesus Christ.”
Despite his political notoriety, Colson was known as a very smart individual. He received 15 honorary doctorates, and in 1993 was awarded the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. This was a huge honor for him and his family. Colson later donated his prize money (more than US$1 million) to the work of Prison Fellowship as he did with all his speaking fees and royalties. President Bush awarded him the Presidential Citizens Medal in 2008.