Rosalie (Ricky) Gaull Silberman
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Born as Rosalie Gaull in Jackson, Michigan, she studied government studies, graduating with honors from Smith College in 1958. She met her husband-to-be, future federal Judge Laurence H. Silberman, in 1955 during summer school at Harvard University.
Ricky Silberman raised three children while the family lived in Hawaii during the 1960s, but she also worked as a teacher in suburban Washington before getting involved in politics and public affairs.
President Richard Nixon appointed her to the Presidential Commission for the Education of Disadvantaged Children, and she worked as a press secretary for U.S. Sen. Robert Packwood (R-Oregon). When the Silbermans moved to San Francisco in 1979, she did development work for the San Francisco Conservatory.
Her support of Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas led to the formation of the Independent Women's Forum (IWF), which had its origins in 1991-92, when Mrs. Silberman and friends, Barbara Olson, Barbara Ledeen and Anita Blair, started an informal network of women who supported the Thomas nomination despite allegations of sexual harassment by Anita Hill, a former colleague at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She had worked with Thomas at the commission and was a close friend. During his contentious confirmation, she spoke out on his behalf and helped edit The Real Anita Hill, a book by David Brock that savaged Hill and portrayed her charges as a political dirty trick.
From 1995 to 2000, Silberman was executive director of the Office of Congressional Compliance, an independent authority established by Congress to oversee the new law requiring that Congress abide by many of the same workplace regulations that covered the rest of the nation. In 2002, Donald Rumsfeld appointed her to the Defense Department Advisory Commission on the Status of Women (DACOWITS), where she served as Boardmember, and, later, Chairperson Emeritus until her death five years later.
Silberman died from complications from breast cancer on Sunday, February 18, 2007 at Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, D.C., at the age of 69. She was survived by her husband of 49 years; three children and, at the time of her death, eight grandchildren. Through the auspices of her son Robert, D.C. Prep, a Washington Charter School, dedicated a campus in Silberman's memory.