Dwight Eisenhower was already a career army man when Mamie Doud met him. On July 1, 1916, they married at her family’s home in Denver, and like many service couples, they moved from base to base. She claimed that they relocated nearly thirty times over the next four decades. Despite this, they decided to start a family.
Throughout it all, the legacy of Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower’s son, Doud Dwight Eisenhower, proved to be a profoundly lasting influence. In some respects, John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower, the Eisenhowers’ second son, who lived a long and distinguished life, will never be able to shake the shadow of his dead, older sibling.
On September 24, 1917, Dwight Dwight Eisenhower was born in San Antonio, Texas. He was Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower’s first child. He was given the names “Doud” and “Dwight” in honor of his father and his mother, whose maiden name was Doud. His parents gave him the nickname “Ikky,” which he pronounced “icky.”
When Doud was born, his father was away at a camp in Georgia, and he wrote to Mamie with excitement. Dwight wrote to Mamie regularly during the next few months, calling for information on Doud during their frequent separations. However, Ikky contracted scarlet fever in December 1920, when Dwight was posted at Fort Meade, Maryland—apparently from the family maid. On January 2, 1921, amid their desperate attempts to rescue him, he died in his father’s arms.
Ikky’s death shocked his parents, but his father may have been the hardest hit. Dwight would later describe it as “the biggest disappointment and failure of my life, the one I’ll never forget absolutely.”
Ikky’s passing transformed Dwight D. Eisenhower’s disposition. His second son’s arrival only briefly alleviated Dwight’s sense of loss; However, he unquestionably cherished his son intensely; Dwight repressed much of the genuine intimacy he would have displayed otherwise. As a consequence, their relationship will still have an undercurrent of stress.
On August 3, 1922, John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower was born in Denver, Colorado. John Sheldon spent almost every waking minute in a military atmosphere. A lengthy tour of America’s World War I battlefields in 1927, when Dwight was assigned to the American Battle Monuments Commission to help compose the standard guide for those hallowed grounds, was one of his formative experiences.
John attended high school in the Philippines in the 1930s when his father served there under General Douglas MacArthur. Before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he joined the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1941, which launched the United States into World War II.
Despite this, no one paid any attention to John outside of his family and West Point until his father’s rise to prominence in the U.S. military hierarchy in 1942-1943. And the media had bigger things to worry about when he graduated from West Point on June 6, 1944—D-Day.
Barbara Jean Thompson married John Eisenhower on June 10, 1947, just a few days before her twenty-first birthday. Barbara was born into an army family on June 15, 1926, in Fort Knox, Kentucky. Col. Thompson commands the Allied Expeditionary Forces. David, Barbara Ann, Susan Elaine, and Mary Jean were John and Barbara’s four children. In 1968, after whom Camp David is named, David married Julie Nixon, the daughter of Richard Nixon.
After thirty-nine years of marriage, John and Barbara divorced in 1986. Barbara married Edwin J. Foltz, a widower and former vice president of the Campbell Soup Company, in 1988. She died in Gladwyne, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, on September 19, 2014.
John worked in the White House with his father before retiring as a colonel in 1963; subsequently, he became a brigadier general in the Army Reserve and served as President Richard Nixon’s Ambassador to Belgium from 1969 to 1971. John earned a master’s degree in English from Columbia University after WWII ended, and after his military service ended, he turned to fiction. John began a prolific career as a prominent military historian after supporting his father with his memoirs and publishing his own. He published well-received histories of the Mexican-American War, World War I, and World War II, among other subjects.
In his final years, he reclaimed his parents’ legacies—particularly his father’s—to ensure that “Dwight D. Eisenhower” will serve as a reminder of all what is best about America. John died on December 21, 2013, at the age of 91.
Dwight Eisenhower’s Grandchildren
Dwight David Eisenhower II
Dwight David Eisenhower II was born on March 31, 1948, in Washington, D.C. He was best known as David Eisenhower, an American author, public policy fellow, University of Pennsylvania professor, and Camp David’s namesake, the presidential retreat in the United States. He is Dwight D. Eisenhower’s only grandson and Richard Nixon’s son-in-law by his marriage to Nixon’s daughter, Julie Nixon. Jennie Elizabeth Eisenhower, an actress, Alexander Richard Eisenhower, and Melanie Catherine Eisenhower were the couple’s three daughters.
Barbara Anne Eisenhower was born on May 30, 1949. She is known as Anne Eisenhower. She is a well-known interior designer who works in New York City. Fernando Echavarria-Uribe, an insurance executive from Bogotá, Colombia, was Anne’s first partner, whom she met while vacationing in South America in 1966. They tied the knot in November 1968.
Adriana Echavarria, who later became a photographer, was born six months later. She was married to Eduardo Mendoza de la Torre, Colombia’s former vice-minister of justice and later a vice president of Avianca Airlines, who was the first man to testify against infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar. Anna has two grandchildren, Camila and Nicolás Mendoza-Eisenhower, by Adriana.
Anne married Wolfgang Flöttl, a billionaire hedge fund investor who once owned a Van Gogh, Picasso, and Cézanne art collection, in the 1980s.
In 2018, Anne filed for divorce to Flöttl.
Susan Elaine Eisenhower was born on December 31, 1951. She is an American consultant, editor, and expert on international security, space policy, energy, and relations between the U.S.A. and the Russian Federation. Susan was the first president of the Eisenhower Institute and a managing member of the Eisenhower Institute, where she was known for her work in the former Soviet Union. She traveled extensively to that country for more than two decades on matters of U.S. national security.
Mary Jean Eisenhower
In Washington, D.C., Mary Jean Eisenhower was born. She grew up near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, as President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s granddaughter, until her father was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Belgium and the family moved to Belgium. Mary has traveled to over 75 countries as Chairman Emeritus of People to People International, visiting demining teams and Peace Camps while promoting student and cultural initiatives. She started the PTPI Friendship Fund to give back to the services and people PTPI meets around the world.