Washingtonian Dana Hyde to be buried in Israel following tragic plane accident

The lawyer and former White House official remembered as someone ‘driven by the desire to help others’

Thos Robinson/Getty Images for The African-American Institute

Dana J. Hyde speaks during the 30th Annual Awards Gala hosted by The Africa-America Institute at Gotham Hall on September 22, 2014 in New York City.

Before Dana Hyde died last week as a result of turbulence experienced on a business jet, she was at the peak of a Washington career. The 55-year-old lawyer was a co-chair of the Partnership for an Inclusive Economy at the Aspen Institute and had served in numerous government jobs over the years.

But when Hyde arrived in Washington in 1989 soon after her graduation from the University of California Los Angeles, she didn’t yet have any of those credentials. Her first job in the nation’s capital was, like many other young idealists hoping to get their foot in the door in Washington, an internship.

“Even at that young age and with no work experience, she was just an extraordinarily brilliant, capable, committed person who had all the right values,” said Ester Kurz, who hired Hyde for that first internship at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. “In all the many jobs she had in Washington, and she had many, she was always driven by the desire to help others.” (Kurz retired from AIPAC in 2021 after 39 years.)

After two years as a legislative assistant at AIPAC, Hyde, who grew up in Oregon, worked on Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign and later in his White House. After getting a law degree from Georgetown, she served as counsel to the congressional 9/11 Commission. She spent time both in private practice and in government, including as CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a Senate-confirmed position. 

“She was so effective and such a valuable member of anybody’s team, and that really came across today at the memorial service,” said Kurz.

Hyde was flying with her husband and son back from visiting schools in New England when their jet, which is owned by her husband’s company, experienced unexpected strong turbulence. 

“Dana was the best person I ever knew. She was a wonderful mother to our boys and she was accomplished professionally,” her husband Jonathan Chambers wrote in an email to colleagues. “She loved and was beloved.”

Hyde’s funeral on Wednesday took place at Temple Micah in Washington and drew more than 200 people, among them National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. Hyde will be buried in Israel today. 

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