Mr. Seymour soon called for a major overhaul of the nation’s laws on conflicts of interest and ethics in government. He proposed removing legislative ambiguities and creating clear standards of conduct for all former senior officials of government.
In a profile of Mr. Seymour during the Deaver case, The Times noted that for years he had gathered his extended family on Cape Cod every Independence Day to take turns reading passages of the Declaration of Independence aloud and discussing the document’s meaning and significance.
“If this seems an unusual and poignant way for an American family to mark July 4, it is nonetheless thoroughly in keeping with the character of Whitney North Seymour Jr.,” The Times said. It added, “If Mr. Seymour — Mike to his friends — comes across as pious and stuffy to some, he strikes many others as a man rightly living life, utterly honest, committed to the public good, interested, engaged.”
Whitney North Seymour Jr. was born in Huntington, W.Va., on July 7, 1923, to Whitney Sr. and Lola Vickers Seymour. He and his brother grew up in Manhattan. Their father was President Herbert Hoover’s assistant solicitor general. As a private lawyer, he also successfully appealed the conviction of Angelo Herndon, a black Communist, under a Georgia anti-insurrection law for keeping radical literature in his room.
Whitney Jr. graduated from the Kent School in Connecticut in 1941. After studies at Princeton, he joined the wartime Army in 1943, became an artillery officer in the Pacific and was discharged as a captain in 1945. He graduated from Princeton in 1947 and earned a law degree from Yale in 1950.
In 1951, he married Catryna Ten Eyck, a descendant of Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island. Mrs. Seymour died in 2017. Besides his brother, Mr. Seymour is survived by his two daughters, Tryntje and Gabriel Seymour.
He joined his father’s law firm, Simpson Thacher and Bartlett, in 1950. From 1953 to 1956, he was an assistant federal prosecutor in Manhattan, pursuing rackets, police corruption and narcotics cases.