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A. Whitney Ellsworth

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SALISBURY — A. Whitney Ellsworth, 75, died at home on June 18, 2011, surrounded by his family. He was the husband of Priscilla (Wear) Ellsworth of Salisbury.

He was born May 31, 1936, in New York City, the son of Esther (Stevens) and Duncan Stuart Ellsworth.

He attended St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H. After earning a bachelor’s degree in 1958 from Harvard and performing six months’ active duty in the Army Reserves, he was hired at The Atlantic Monthly.

He served as an associate editor on The Atlantic until 1963, when he joined The New York Review of Books as its publisher, soon after its pilot issue. He remained with The New York Review of Books until retiring in 1987.

Although his professional career was in publishing, he devoted much of his energy throughout his life to human rights groups, including Amnesty International (AI). He joined the board of AI USA in 1972, and was its chairman from 1976 to 1978. He also served on AI’s International Executive Committee from 1982 to 1987. He went on missions for Amnesty to Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, the Philippines, Romania and Thailand.

He was on the board of directors for Human Rights First (formerly known as the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights) from 1990 until this year.

He was chairman of the Human Rights Project Group, which was founded by Andrei Sakharov, from 1989 to 1997.

He was chairman and treasurer of Independent Diplomat from 2007 to the present.

Whitney first came to Salisbury in the early 1950s, when his father and stepmother, Sally (Waters) Ellsworth, moved here. He and Priscilla bought their own house here in 1990.

Whitney volunteered with the Salisbury Housing Trust and he was a member of the Hollenbeck Club in Falls Village. His passions were fly-fishing and the outdoor life, working his hunting dogs and spending time with his family.

In 1995, he became an owner (and, eventually, managing partner) of The Lakeville Journal Co. as part of an investor group led by William E. Little Jr.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his four children, Barry Ellsworth and his wife, Camila Motta, of Santa Fe, N.M., Joshua Ellsworth and his wife, Julia Gaviria, of Somerville, Mass., Nina (Ellsworth) Sanger and her husband, Christopher, of New York City, N.Y., and Eliza Cowen of Salisbury; six grandchildren, Ariadne Motta Ellsworth, Iona Motta Ellsworth, Peter Sanger, Katharine Cassatt Sanger, Leo Ellsworth and Silvia Ellsworth; his siblings, Duncan Stuart Ellsworth Jr., Jane (Ellsworth) Hotchkiss, Helen (Ellsworth) Scoville and Anne Ellsworth.

Two memorial services will be held. The first will be June 30 at 11 a.m. in the chapel at the Salisbury School. The second will be held in October in New York City.

Arrangements are under the care of the Kenny Funeral Home in Sharon.

Memorial donations may be sent to Independent Diplomat, 137 Second Ave., second floor, New York, NY 10003; or the Salisbury Housing Trust, PO Box 52, Salisbury, CT 06068.