- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 1, 2006

LEXINGTON, Va. (AP) — Robert Thurman Barnard, retired opinion-page editor at the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., and former president of the National Conference of Editorial Writers (NCEW), died March 30. He was 79.

Mr. Barnard died at Kendal at Lexington’s Borden Health Center after being treated for prostate cancer, a family member said.

Mr. Barnard retired in 1990 after 27 years at the Courier-Journal, 17 of them as editor of the editorial page.

He served as president of the NCEW in 1979 and was the first president of the NCEW Foundation, which supports NCEW programs, including an annual Minority Writers Seminar for opinion writers at newspapers and radio and television stations.

Mr. Barnard was a founding member of the First Amendment Congress, a coalition of 20 national journalism and communications organizations that sponsored national, state and local congresses on press and First Amendment topics from 1979 through 1997.

He joined the Courier-Journal in 1963 as assistant managing editor. He moved to the editorial staff as an associate editor in 1970 and became editorial-page editor in 1971. He was named associate editor of the newspaper’s daily Forum page in 1988.

Keith L. Runyon, editor of the Forum in the Courier-Journal, described Mr. Barnard as “an editor of exacting standards” who oversaw the editorial page during the upheaval of the Vietnam War and Watergate.

“Though he shunned the spotlight personally, the words he guided onto the pages of the Courier-Journal provided a beacon still felt in this region,” Mr. Runyon said. “For those of us for whom he was mentor and teacher, he will be remembered with great respect.”

Mr. Barnard began his journalism career in 1949 as a reporter at the Raleigh (N.C.) Times. He later worked at the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal and the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times. He was born in Wayne, Pa., on Aug. 2, 1926, grew up in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., and graduated high school in Scarsdale, N.Y.

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