Warren Minor Christopher was born Oct. 27, 1925, in the farming hamlet of Scranton, N.D., one of five children.
His entered the University of Redlands at 16 but World War II intervened and he wound up in a Navy officer program at the University of Southern California, soon to serve as an ensign in the Navy Reserve on an oil tanker in the Pacific.
After earning degrees at U.S.C. and Stanford’s law school, Mr. Christopher won a clerkship with William O. Douglas, during which he helped draft book chapters for the libertarian Supreme Court justice.
He joined O’Melveny & Myers in 1950, soon became an adviser and speech writer for California’s newly elected governor, Edmund G. Brown, and was credited with coining the term “responsible liberalism.”
Mr. Christopher, made a partner at just 33 in 1958, was named by Governor Brown to the commission investigating the 1965 Watts riots. This brought him to the attention of President Lyndon Johnson, who in 1967 brought him back to Washington, until January 1969, as deputy to Attorney General Ramsey Clark. Cyrus R. Vance, who, on being installed as secretary of state seven years later, recommended that President Jimmy Carter ask Mr. Christopher again to take leave from O’Melveny & Myers and become No. 2 at state.
After giving way to Madeleine K. Albright after one term as secretary of state, Mr. Christopher again returned to O’Melveny & Myers and civic and political life in California. He served as president of Stanford’s board of trustees and was a longtime director of the Southern California Edison Company.
Mr. Christopher is survived by his wife of 54 years, the former Marie Wyllis, a teacher, and by their three children and five grandchildren. He had a fourth child from an earlier marriage.more » « less