Marvin James (Peachy) Menefee, 89, the administrative assistant to the late senator Harry F. Byrd Sr. (D-Va.) from 1936 until 1966, died of congestive heart failure Jan. 12 at the MontVue Nursing Home in Luray, Va.

Mr. Menefee began his career on Capitol Hill in 1933 as the secretary of A. Willis Robertson, then a Virginia Democrat serving in the House of Representatives and later a senator. After the retirement of the senior Sen. Byrd, Mr. Menefee worked for Harry F. Byrd Jr., who succeeded his father in the Senate. Mr. Menefee retired in 1967 and had lived in Luray since.

He was born in Covington, Va. He attended Washington & Lee University. He served in the Virginia National Guard on the Mexican border during the emergency there in 1916 and in the Army in France in World War II. He was wounded in October 1918.

Mr. Menefee's military decorations included the Distinguished Service Cross, the Purple Heart and the Croix de Guerre with Palm and the Legion of Honor from France.

From 1920 until 1933, he was the commissioner of the revenue in Page County, Va.

When he retired in 1967, he was named "Unsung Virginian of the Year" by the Virginia Association of Electric Cooperatives.

Mr. Menefee's wife, the former Anne Hudson, died in 1982.

Survivors include two sons, James Y. II, of Glendale, Ariz., and Col. William P., of Chambersburg, Pa.; three daughters, Janet Lee Freeman of Albany, Ga., Mary Ann Byerly of Tallahassee, Fla., and Emily S. Johnston of Richmond; a brother, Charles R., of Luray; three sisters, Katherine M. Spitler of Richmond, Iva Menefee of Gaithersburg, and Mabel Gordon of Greenville, S.C.; 14 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.