Latest Entry: The RSS feed for this blog has moved

Washington Post staff writers offer a window into the art of obituary writing, the culture of death, and more about the end of the story.

Read more | What is this blog?

More From the Obits Section: Search the Archives  |   RSS Feeds RSS Feed   |   Submit an Obituary  |   Twitter Twitter

Barrett McGurn; Edward L. Nelson Jr.

Network News

X Profile
View More Activity
Thursday, July 8, 2010

Barrett McGurn Press Secretary

Barrett McGurn, 95, a onetime foreign correspondent who was the Supreme Court's first press secretary, died July 2 at his home in Bethesda. He had pancreatic cancer.

Mr. McGurn worked for the court from 1973 until 1982. He distributed the court's decisions to the media and responded to inquiries. He was also the personal assistant to Chief Justice Warren Burger.

William Barrett McGurn Jr. was born in New York. He graduated from Fordham University in 1935 and was editor of the student newspaper. After college, he worked for the old New York Herald Tribune and was an Army journalist during World War II for Yank magazine, a popular publication during the war years.

After the war, he became the Herald Tribune's bureau chief in Rome and Paris and covered the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.

In 1966, Mr. McGurn joined the State Department as press attache at the U.S. Embassy in Rome. He later became a press officer at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon during the Vietnam War. In 1969, he moved to State Department headquarters in Washington.

After retiring in 1982, Mr. McGurn became spokesman for the Archdiocese of Washington. He wrote five books, including a memoir of his time at Yank magazine.

He was a member of the Catholic Church of the Little Flower in Bethesda. He was also a member of the Cosmos Club.

His first wife, Mary Johnson McGurn, died in 1960. A daughter from that marriage, Betsy Hehn, died in 2007.

Survivors include his wife of 48 years, Janice McLaughlin McGurn; two sons from his first marriage, William McGurn III of Rome and Andrew McGurn of Norwalk, Conn.; and three sons from his second marriage, Lachie McGurn of Winnetka, Ill., and Martin McGurn and Mark McGurn, both of Bethesda.

-- Timothy R. Smith

CONTINUED     1        >

More in the Obituary Section

Post Mortem

Post Mortem

The art of obituary writing, the culture of death, and more about the end of the story.

From the Archives

From the Archives

Read Washington Post obituaries and view multimedia tributes to Pope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, James Brown and more.

[Campaign Finance]

A Local Life

This weekly feature takes a more personal look at extraordinary people in the D.C. area.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company

Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity