Robert W. Barrie, lobbyist and federal official

November 5, 2012

Robert W. Barrie, 87, a former federal official who specialized in international trade and a retired lobbyist for General Electric, died Oct. 27 at Rejuvenation care facility in Silver Spring. He had Alzheimer’s disease, his daughter, Julie Buchanan, said.

Dr. Barrie, who lived in Washington, was a Democratic Party political activist who worked on the presidential campaigns of Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton and John Kerry. He was coordinator of speech and research in the 1960 vice presidential campaign of Lyndon B. Johnson and was executive director of the parade committee for the Kennedy-Johnson inauguration in 1961. Dr. Barrie also served on support committees for Democratic senators.

He worked for General Electric from 1972 to 1995, when he retired as senior manager for legislative affairs, having specialized in international trade issues. He continued to represent GE as a consultant in retirement.

Robert Wesley Barrie was born in Lester Prairie, Minn. His family said he joined the Navy in 1943, at 17, and that he missed his high school graduation, where he had been scheduled to deliver the valedictory address. He served in the Pacific during World War II.

He graduated in 1948 from the University of Minnesota, where he also received a doctorate in political science in 1968.

In the 1950s, Dr. Barrie was an assistant at the Mutual Security Agency, which coordinated foreign aid to U.S. allies, and then an aide to Rep. Harrison A. Williams Jr. (D-N.J.). In 1961, he joined the Commerce Department as a specialist in international trade, then became director of trade development for the Committee on American Steamship Lines in 1965.

During the Carter administration, Dr. Barrie was a presidential appointee to the advisory committee for trade negotiations.

His first marriage, to Frances Clark Barrie, ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife of 45 years, Paula Brodie Barrie of Washington; two children from his second marriage, Julie Buchanan of Chevy Chase and Robert W. Barrie II of Denver; and a granddaughter.

— Bart Barnes

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