Valerie J. Rumsfeld Richard, born in 1956, is the eldest child of Donald Henry Rumsfeld and Joyce Pierson. She has two younger siblings, Marcy K. Rumsfeld Walczak and Donald Nicholas Rumsfeld. Valerie is a psychologist by profession.

Her Father, Donald Rumsfeld

Donald Henry Rumsfeld was born on July 9, 1932, in Chicago, Illinois. After graduating from New Trier High School, he attended Princeton University, earning an A.B. in politics and graduating in 1954. He served in the United States Navy from 1954 to 1957 as a naval aviator and flight instructor and was assigned to Anti-submarine Squadron 662 at Naval Air Station Anacostia, District of Columbia, as a selective reservist in 1958. Rumsfeld married Joyce P. Pierson on December 27, 1954, and had three children. He was designated aircraft commander of Anti-submarine Squadron 731 on October 1, 1960, at Naval Air Station Grosse Ile, Michigan, and retired with the rank of captain in 1989.

Rumsfeld began his political career in 1957 as an administrative assistant to a Congressman from Ohio. He went on to serve as a staff assistant for a Congressman from Michigan and then transitioned to the world of investment banking. In 1962, Rumsfeld was elected to the United States House of Representatives for Illinois’s 13th congressional district and was re-elected four times. During his time in Congress, he proposed new leadership for the Republican Party, attended seminars at the University of Chicago and supported the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In 1969, he resigned from Congress to join the Nixon administration.

Donald Rumsfeld served as the 13th United States Secretary of Defense from 1975-1977. During his tenure, he oversaw the transition to an all-volunteer military, sought to reverse the gradual decline in the defense budget and emphasized the importance of the next stage of the space program. Working with Team B and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General George S. Brown, Rumsfeld drafted the SALT II Treaty and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977. At the end of his first term, he was succeeded by former Secretary of the Air Force Harold Brown.

Donald Rumsfeld has had a distinguished career in both the public and private sector, having held several executive positions as well as being a member of President Reagan’s General Advisory Committee on Arms Control (1982-1986), Special Presidential Envoy on the Law of the Sea Treaty (1982-1983), and Special Presidential Envoy to the Middle East (1983-1984). He has also served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Instrument Corporation (1990-1993) and Member and then Chairman of the Board of Gilead Sciences, Inc. (1988-2001). Rumsfeld was also a member of various committees and organizations.

Rumsfeld served a second tour as Secretary of Defense from January 2001 to December 2006. During this time, Rumsfeld led the Department of Defense in its response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and in the reform and transformation of the U.S. Armed Forces to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. He was awarded 11 honorary degrees, and numerous foreign awards and honors. At the time of his passing on June 29th, 2021, Rumsfeld was residing in New Mexico with his wife Joyce, and his three children, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.