Remembering Effi Barry

H. R. Crawford
Former D.C. Councilman
Thursday, September 6, 2007; 3:00 PM

Effi Barry, 63, a regal first lady of Washington who endured her husband's very public sex and drug scandal during his tenure as mayor, died early this morning of leukemia at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis.

H.R. Crawford, former member of the D.C. City Council who served while Marion Barry was mayor of the District and personal friend of Ms. Barry, was online Thursday, Sept. 6, at 3 p.m. ET to talk about the former first lady of Washington.

A transcript follows.


H.R. Crawford: A very elegant lady who brougt class style and confidence to the office of the Mayor. She complimented her husband, Marion Barry extremely well. In a time of termoil she sat very stately with a warmth and the presence of a lady of distinction and character.


Washington, D.C.: How did Effi Barry seem to deal with her husband's frequent problems?

H.R. Crawford: Publicly she dealth with an unknown quality, uncommon and rarely seen in the District of Columbia political circle.

Whenever problem in the Office of the Mayor developed she handled it with a quiet, graceful and intelligent approach.


Washington, D.C.: Did Effi Barry really like D.C. politics? She seemed like maybe she didn't like being in the public eye,

H.R. Crawford: More or less she tolerated it.


Fairfax, Va.: Was Effie Barry political at all? What did she do while her then-husband, Marion Barry, was mayor of D.C.?

H.R. Crawford: She was not very political at all, but there was a quiet character she exuberated in the presence of others that complimented Marion Barry. She took his office to higher level. She played her role as the first lady, very gracefully.


Fairfax, Va.: Was Effi Barry's former husband, Marion Barry, close to her toward the end? How is her son, Christopher, taking his mom's loss? I remember Mrs. Barry well. I always admired her serenity and poise throughout her many challenges.

H.R. Crawford: I'm sure Marion is very humbled and feels the loss of Effie. During her illness and treatment they remained in close contact and very supportive. I have not had contact with Christopher since her passing. I'm sure he is distraught at this time. Christopher is her only child.


Washington, D.C.: I'll always remember her as a very classy woman who exuded much style and grace especially during the mayor's public problems with crack and his womanizing.

How do you feel she would like to be remembered?

H.R. Crawford: As a person who cared about the public, whom shared her illness publicly, which demonstrates her efforts to both share and educate the public concerning her illness and to bring an awaraness about the desease and possible treatment.


Fairfax, Va.: I have always thought of Ms. Barry as a Jacqueline Kennedy-type of public figure, who contributed greatly...but graciously and in the background. Will there be a formal, lasting tribute of some kind to Effi Barry to celebrate her life and contributions to the District?

H.R. Crawford: Plans are being developed now. I'm certain efforts will be made toward addressing her concerns regarding the welfare and health of the less fortunate particular persons dealing with HIV/AIDS


Silver Spring, Md.: Wow, I was stunned and sad to hear about Effi. She was a class act. How long has she been ill? And do you know if she ever found out who was her Italian father?

H.R. Crawford: I'm not certain about her father. Effie suffered with this illness well over a year.


Federal Triangle, Washington, D.C.: How is their son doing? I see him slowing emerging as his own man. Any politcal future in him.

P.S. -- I went to Morehouse with one of your sons, how are they doing?

H.R. Crawford: George is during just fine. As far as Christopher is concerned a number of us will be looking out for him and working with him. At this point I don't think he's interested in politics.


Linthicum, Md.: What did she do re HIV/AIDS?

H.R. Crawford: She was very instrumental in dealing with AIDS prevention and educational programs in dealing with this problem, particularly in Southeast, Northeast Washington.


Silver Spring, Md.: I was so sad to see this news.

The last I'd read of her she was going to have a bone marrow transplant. Did that not take?

She was faultless during various Barry dramas. I think she is deserving of respect for the composed way she behaved herself.

There is a great deal of truth in the saying that "only the good die young."

H.R. Crawford: I strongly agree.


Fairfax, Va.: What would Ms. Barry want her legacy to be?

H.R. Crawford: At this point I'm not sure. In the near future there will be a number of us during something meaningful in her memory.


Washington, D.C.: What was Effi Barry doing up until her death? I lost track of her, where did she go and what was her work?

H.R. Crawford: She was involved in AIDS Prevention and HIV programs. She resided in Southeast Washington, Ward 7.


College Park, Md.: Was she a reluctant participant with her husband Marion Barry during his tenure? She didn't seem like she was that enamored by it all. What's the true story?

H.R. Crawford: Not to my knowledge.


Crystal City, Va.: Was she involved in any programs in the city? Did she take on a any public role in the administration or working for causes of any kind?

H.R. Crawford: Yes she was. Preventive medicine, AIDS Awareness, AIDS Programs, HIV Prevention.


Silver Spring, Md.: Do you know if she has any siblings? Also, did she ever teach at Howard or UDC

H.R. Crawford: I'm not certain regarding siblings, but she did teach at the University level for awhile.


H.R. Crawford: Presently we are emotionally drained and are attempting to make final arrangements. Keep us in your prayers as we remember DC's First Classy Dignified FIRST LADY, Effie Barry


Editor's Note: moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company