Archibald R. (Archie) Lye, 73, a butler who, during a career of more than 50 years, worked at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW and other well-known addresses in Washington, died of cardiac arrest Aug. 14 at the Mount Desert Hospital in Bar Harbor, Maine.
Mr. Lye, who lived in Washington and maintained a summer residence in Bar Harbor, was born at Seende, Wiltshire, England. He came to this country in 1930 and settled in Washington. He found here a ready demand for the special skills he had learned growing up in what he described in an interview with The Washington Post in 1979 as "gentler times."
For many years he worked for "Cissy" Patterson, the publisher of the old Washington Times-Herald newspaper. Following her death in 1947, he became self-employed. Among those who made use of his services over the years were the White House, the State Department and the 1925 F Street Club. He also worked for many prominent families in the area.
Mr. Lye was prized not only for the elegance with which he could carry off any sort of social occasion, but also for his photographic memory for names and faces. He was an "announcer," often being called upon to stand next to host and hostess on a receiving line and introduce guests. It is said that he was infallible.
Part of the secret, he told The Post, was studying pictures in magazines and newspapers. "They all know me," he said of his work. "I know all them."
In Bar Harbor, Mr. Lye had been the steward of the Pot and Kettle Club for the past 30 years. Its membership is drawn from the wealthy families who have made Bar Harbor famous as a haven from hot weather and a center for yachting and similar pastimes.
In recent years, Mr. Lye described himself as "a semiretired butler of leisure." But he was scheduled to work at the White House in coming weeks.
He was a member of the Private Butlers Association and St. Margaret's Episcopal Church.
Survivors include his wife, Emily Mahoney Lye, of Washington and Bar Harbor; a brother, William F. of Wycliff, British Columbia, and a sister, Daisy Lye Gainhan of Shropshire, England.