On Monday, Phyllis Schlafly passed away at the age of 92. Schlafly will long be remembered for her conservative activism and leadership, which she continued well into her old age. As of Monday night, it was not clear how Schlafly actually died, but she was reportedly surrounded by loved ones at her home in St. Louis, Missouri.
The Eagle Forum, a self-described "pro-family" advocacy group that Schlafly founded in 1972, confirmed its leader's death on social media. The Eagle Forum's message identified Schlafly as "an indomitable pro-family grassroots advocate and organizer." The statement also reported that Schlafly's family was gathered at their home in St. Louis when she passed away, and that funeral arrangements were pending.
According to The Washington Post, Schlafly's daughter had said that the activist had been sick with cancer. Schlafly's health had not made many headlines in recent years. Rather, she was known for continuing her activism despite her age. Until her death, she remained involved in the American political scene, whether through the Eagle Forum or through her own means. In March, Schlafly introduced and endorsed Donald Trump at a rally he held in St. Louis. "We've been following the losers for too long," she said at the event in her hometown. "Now we've got a guy who's going to lead us to victory."
The endorsement of Trump came as a surprise to many, considering that Schlafly is often associated with socially conservative views. Trump, on the other hand, has sometimes been criticized as weak on traditionally conservative issues like abortion. Just as Trump has created a deep divide within the Republican Party, Schlafly's endorsement of the controversial candidate seemed to create a divide within her organization — and even her own family. Schlafly told reporters in April after the endorsement that several Eagle Forum board members, including her daughter Anne Cori, were trying to remove her from power within the organization.
Ultimately, Schlafly's activism was controversial far beyond the walls of her organization. She stuck firmly to traditional values and worked to ensure that others did the same. As The New York Times reported in its obituary of Schlafly, she often opened speeches by saying, "I want to thank my husband, Fred, for letting me come here" — not to mention, she worked during the 1970s to make sure that the Equal Rights Amendment did not pass.
Although it's not clear how she died, Schlafly's death comes at a critical time for many conservative issues. There's an election just a few months away, and Schlafly clearly would have liked to see Trump win. Even though she won't be casting a vote, Schlafly left a vivid legacy for conservatives, should they agree with her pro-family values.