Nan Tucker McEvoy, the last member of the San Francisco Chronicle's founding family to head the newspaper, died Thursday after a long convalescence. She was 95.
Her son, Nion McEvoy, publisher of Chronicle Books, confirmed her death. The Chronicle reported that McEvoy — who had also been a prominent olive oil producer — died peacefully at home in San Francisco.
The granddaughter of M.H. de Young, founder of the Chronicle, McEvoy was the longtime chair of the board of Chronicle Publishing, which included the morning daily and other media holdings.
After the company was sold in 1999, she turned her energy to olive ranching.
She was committed to public service and philanthropy and served as a board member of the University of California, San Francisco Foundation, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the San Francisco Symphony, among other organizations. She was a founding staff member of the Peace Corps, and special assistant to its first director, Sargent Shriver.
The daughter of Nion R. Tucker, a business executive who helped consolidate a number of small airlines into United Airlines, and Phyllis de Young Tucker, one of the four daughters of M.H. de Young. Her only sibling, Nion R. Tucker Jr., was a Marine lieutenant during World War II and died of wounds suffered in the Iwo Jima landing.
In 1946, she left San Francisco to work as a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune and the Washington Post. Two years later, she married publishing executive Dennis McEvoy. When the marriage fell apart, she became the first member of her Roman Catholic family to obtain a divorce. After the war, Mrs. McEvoy lived in Washington for four decades. She was close to Washington Post Publisher Katharine Graham, and the two women were thereafter joined as strong women in the heretofore man’s world of newspaper publishing.
Mrs. McEvoy immersed herself in Democratic politics and was a close friend of Illinois Democratic senator and presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson. When President John F. Kennedy assigned Shriver to start the Peace Corps, Mrs. McEvoy was chosen to run the African program. She later recruited Peace Corps executives to head missions all over the world.
In 1993, after she had moved back to San Francisco, Mrs. McEvoy sold her Georgetown home and thereafter divided her time between an apartment in a Montgomery Street high-rise, across from the Transamerica Pyramid, and her ranch in Petaluma. She said she purchased the 550-acre dairy farm as a place where her grandchildren — the children of her only child, Nion, and his then-wife, Ira.
She is survived by her son, Nion of San Francisco, and three grandchildren.