- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 22, 2004

Timothy Elbourne, 66, White House official

Timothy G. Elbourne, former assistant to Walt Disney and later special assistant to President Nixon, died Aug. 7 of natural causes at his home in Idyllwild, Calif. He was 66.

Mr. Elbourne was raised in North Hollywood, Calif., and graduated from the University of Southern California in 1961.

He worked with the campaign management firm of Spencer/Roberts on various Southern California political races, and later became the only person to hold the title of assistant to Walt Disney. He served the studio head in the early development of the California Institute of the Arts, now housed on a large campus endowed by Mr. Disney in Valencia, Calif., with a student body studying visual and performing arts.

After Mr. Disney’s death in 1966, Mr. Elbourne joined his college roommate, Ronald Ziegler, in the press operation of Mr. Nixon’s successful 1968 presidential campaign. When Mr. Nixon took office, he asked Mr. Elbourne to join his White House staff.

During the Nixon years, Mr. Elbourne traveled the globe in advance of the presidential party, preparing for press coverage of Mr. Nixon’s domestic and international trips. Mr. Elbourne was one of the first Americans to visit the People’s Republic of China, after Henry Kissinger’s initial trip, to arrange coverage of Mr. Nixon’s historic opening of that country to the West.

Presidential visits to foreign capitals were often chaotic, and Mr. Elbourne’s hard work and creative eye for the perfect photo opportunity made him a favorite of the traveling press corps.

Mr. Elbourne left the Nixon White House early in the second term to return to the Disney organization as president of the newly formed Walt Disney Travel Co., now a global organization serving the company’s theme parks in Japan, France and the United States, and several cruise ships.

Mr. Elbourne moved his family to Yorba Linda in Orange County, Calif., where they lived for many years, later moving to Rancho Mirage, and then to Idyllwild.

In recent years, Mr. Elbourne was a consultant for Management Resources of Tustin, Calif., and the Miziker Entertainment Group of Burbank, Calif., in the development and operations of large entertainment projects around the world.

He is survived by his wife, Inge, whom he met on an ocean liner to Europe in 1957; daughter Kathy Hargis and son-in-law Lance Hargis of Austin, Texas; daughter Kirsten Mathieson of Cambria, Calif.; and four grandchildren.

A son, Timothy G. Elbourne Jr., died last year at age 38.

Instead of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to Maitri Hospice, 401 Duboce St., San Francisco, CA 94117.

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