Verda White Barnes, 73, who retired in 1975 as the administrative assistant of Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho), died Monday in her home in Washington after a stroke.
Mrs. Barnes joined Church's staff shortly after the senator's election in 1956. She was his administrative assistant for 11 years before she retired. Long active in politics herself, Mrs. Barnes was a full-time volunteer during Church's bid for the 1976 Democratic presidential nomination.
Mrs. Barnes was a native of St. Anthony, Idaho. She became active in Democratic Party politics in eastern Idaho in the early 1930s and helped organize Young Democratic Clubs for Franklin D. Roosevelt during his first presidential campaign in 1932.
She was elected vice president of the Young Democratic Clubs of Idaho in 1936, and two years later was elected vice president of the Young Democratic Clubs of America.
Mrs. Barnes was a delegate to the 1940 Democratic National Convention and an alternate delegate four years later. She was a member of the Speakers Bureau of the Democratic National-Committee during both of those campaigns.
She first came to Washington in 1936, and during the next 10 years worked for the Interior Department, National Youth Administration, the War Manpower Commission, and the CIO's Political Action Committee.
After World War II, she served on the staffs of Sen. Glen Taylor (D-Idaho), Sen. Thomas Hennings (D-Mo.) and Sen. Harrison A. Williams (D-N.J.) when he was in the House of Representatives. She then joined Church's staff.
In recent years, Mrs. Barnes had been active in the woman's National Democratic Club, serving as the chairman of its international affairs committee in 1976 and 1977 and serving on its board of directors since 1978.
Church said after Mrs. Barne's death that she "possessed all the admirable qualities -- honesty, compassion, and a lifelong commitment to hard work."
Mrs. Barnes marriage to John Barnes ended in divorce.
Her survivors include a daughter, Valorie Taylor of Bethesda; three brothers, Delmont White of Salt Lake City, John W. White of St. Anthony, and Willard L. White of Blackfoot, Idaho; three sisters, Evelyn Rice of Pocatello, Idaho, Mae Blake of St. Anthony, and Maxine Nielsen of Tucumcari, N.M., and two grandchildren.