William J. Spahr, 89, a retired Army colonel and CIA analyst who was an authority on Soviet military policy, died June 13 at Goodwin House retirement community in Alexandria. He had pneumonia.
Col. Spahr, who spent 26 years in the Army, served in Europe during World War II. His later assignments took him to Germany and the Soviet Union. His final active-duty assignment, in 1969, was Army attache in Moscow.
He then joined the CIA and retired in 1986 after serving as the agency’s delegate to the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks in Geneva.
William Joseph Spahr was a Philadelphia native and 1943 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. He received a master’s degree in political science from Columbia University and a doctorate in international affairs from George Washington University.
His military decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal and the Bronze Star Medal. His other honors included the CIA Career Intelligence Medal.
He wrote two books about Soviet military leaders in World War II: “Zhukov: The Rise and Fall of a Great Captain” (1993) and “Stalin’s Lieutenants: A Study of Command Under Duress” (1997).
He was a member of Grace Episcopal Church in Alexandria. He moved to Goodwin House from Old Town Alexandria in 1998.
Survivors include his wife of 66 years, Barbara Parrott “Polly” Spahr of Alexandria; three children, Eric A. Spahr of Rumson, N.J., David M. Spahr of Alexandria and Anna L. Mitchell of Orleans, Mass.; and five grandchildren.
— Adam Bernstein