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McCLURE BROOKS McCLURE Journalist, DIplomat, Advisor to Multinationals Brooks McClure died in Bethesda on May 2, 2012 at the age of 93. His fascination with journalism as a boy evolved into a lifetime of observing, recording and analyzing the human experiences and events in which he was embedded. McClure was born in New York City in 1919. His father was a self-taught engineer working for the state Transportation Department as an accident investigator, a job which enabled the family to weather the Depression. Still in High School the gangly six-foot, McClure wrote to the editor of an Australian weekly describing himself as a "journalism student" and offering himself as their American correspondent at no cost to the paper. They never asked his age or education and he went on to break the spectacular story of the child mother eleven year old Lena Molina. The story was a sensation for several weeks and cemented McClure's position with his now paying employer. The job lasted through the late 1930s when his father died at age 53 and McClure became the family's main bread winner. Giving up his deferment in 1942, he enlisted. and, thanks to his typing skills, ended up as a sergeant in a signals unit of Patton's 3rd army. Patton's pell-mell rush through Germany left teletype operators like McClure with little to do except unpack and quickly repack their ponderous equipment. It was because he was available that he was chosen to take photographs of the American liberation of the concentration camp at Ohrluf, Germany. He arrived shortly after the tank commander who had discovered the camp and a day before the brass arrived, Eisenhower, Montgomery, Bradley and Patton. He was asked to recall the experience in an oral history taken by staff at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in July of 2011, and was subsequently designated as one of the "liberators". After the war he returned to journalism, working as a reporter and editor for the Washington Star. This, in turn, led to a 27-year career in the diplomatic service in the State Department's US Information Agency (USIA) with assignments in Germany, Austria, Denmark, Egypt and Korea. It was during these overseas postings that he sharpened his analytic skills and learned how to handle crises. Though rising through the ranks of government service, he acutely felt his lack of a college degree when dealing with colleagues with ivy-league credentials. So, in his mid-fifties, he enrolled in University of Maryland and worked away at a degree in Political Science at night and on weekends. He graduated in 1978, summa cum laude, at the age of fifty-nine and subsequently as a Distinguished Graduate of the Naval War College. A third career began shortly after his retirement from the Foreign Service. He, along with Robert Shellow and Eleazer Williams, Jr. founded the IMAR Corporation. In the late 1970s, U.S. firms were aggressively extending their reach and operations around the globe. They had a pressing need for reliable and timely information on the political, economic and security situations in their countries of interest. The State Department was not helpful because its country experts were prohibited from sharing negative evaluations of countries recognized by the U.S. IMAR filled the niche, utilizing unclassified sources and the expertise of former foreign service and intelligence officers. The business took off after two IMAR seminars; one on Mexico and the other on Terrorism in Italy. Without any capitalization, IMAR was able to secure contracts with several Fortune 100 companies. McClure was the principal analyst of 190 "business-risk" reports on 60 countries. He also served as advisor to clients on not only the risk of doing business but in the development of crisis response systems. Mr. McClure contributed to six books on crisis planning, hostage defense (based partially on his own experience as a hostage) and corporate security. He testified as an expert on crisis issues in the U.S. Senate; helped draft and edited the U.S. Army's counterterrorism doctrine, and lectured on terrorism and defense measures at the FBI Academy, police academies and war colleges. He was married to former Olga Gallik for 61 years until her death in 2010. A daughter, Karen McClure Barrows, died in 1999. Service will be held at a later date.
Published in The Washington Post on May 15, 2012