Walter E. Barbee, 71, a retired American Airlines captain and president emeritus of the Family Foundation of Virginia, a lobbying group of Christian conservatives, died Aug. 10 at Halquist Memorial Inpatient Center in Arlington. He had cancer.

Mr. Barbee was a Navy pilot from the late 1950s to 1966 and then joined American Airlines. He was based mostly in the Washington area before he retired in 1994.

Starting in the late 1970s, he began to take an interest in how his children's schools taught sex education -- he favored teaching abstinence -- and other parts of the curriculum.

"Textbooks were getting away from patriotism," he told The Washington Post in 1988. "Instead of concentrating on the heroes of American history, they were lionizing protest figures. They appeared to be painting a moral equivalency between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. . . . diluting the children's pride in their country."

This led to the founding in 1985 of the Family Foundation, part of the political mobilization of Christian conservatives during the Reagan administration. Mr. Barbee and Anne Kincaid, who died in March, were leading forces in the group's creation.

The Family Foundation, based in Richmond, also advocated abortion limits and the abolition of school guidance counselors. The organization opposed the legalization of riverboat gambling.

He served on Gov. George Allen's executive committee of a team assigned to implement changes in Virginia's government.

Walter Edward Barbee was a native of Wake County, N.C., and a 1957 mathematics graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He did graduate work in statistics and business management at George Washington University and graduate work in computer systems through the Navy.

He retired from the Navy Reserve in 1979 as a captain.

He was a resident of Mason Neck in Fairfax County and a member of Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield.

Survivors include his wife of 48 years, Margaret Jones Barbee of Mason Neck; five children, Nancy Candeto of Mineral, Va., Kathleen McFall of Falls Church, John D. Barbee of Montclair, Va., David R. Barbee of Manassas and James Barbee of Martinsburg, W.Va.; a brother; and 11 grandchildren.