December 4, 2003 by

Barber B. Conable Jr.


Categories: Politicians

bconable.jpgBarber Benjamin Conable Jr., a Republican congressman who also headed the World Bank, died on Nov. 30 from complications of a staph infection. He was 81.
Conable graduated from Cornell University and its law school, then served as a Marine in World War II and the Korean War. After he returned to the states, he practiced law in Batavia, N.Y., until 1962, when he was elected to the New York state Senate.
A conservative with a socially libertarian streak, Conable represented the 30th District of New York in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1965 to 1985. He was the ranking minority member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, and refused to accept more than $50 from any campaign contributor.
From 1986 to 1991, Conable was president of the World Bank, which lends billions of dollars annually to developing nations. Combating poverty and bolstering primary education were his main objectives.
He decided against seeking a second five-year term at the bank after his friendship with President George H.W. Bush went sour. Conable’s final years were spent teaching at the University of Rochester.

3 Responses to Barber B. Conable Jr.

  1. Victoria S. Bell

    I wrote a paper in college about the “Honorable Barber Conable.” My professor thought I exaggerated his good qualities, but I still think he was one of a kind. I remember him from the time I was a kid and he attended the Livingston County Republican picnics at Hemlock Lake. You couldn’t forget him–he and my Dad were the only two wearing suits and ties! My last contact with him was a couple of years ago and he was still the charming, extremely intelligent man I always knew. We’ve lost a truly great man.

  2. Jim Fleming

    You might be interested in knowing that I have just published a biography of Barber Conable’ s congressional career. It is entitled Window on Congress: A Congressional Biography of Barber B. Conable Jr. It is published by the University of Rochester Press and is available for $29.95 at
    James S. Fleming, Professor of Political Science, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY

  3. James Eichstadt

    If my memory serves me correctly, Rep. Barber Conable was the father of the “milk tax” in the early 1980s. This unpopular tax of up to $1 per hundredweight of commercial milk marketings was levied on dairy farmers during President Reagan’s first term when Federal milk price support program costs were mounting due to rising U.S. milk production. As a result of the milk tax, Mr. Conable is not remembered fondly by some milk producers. Please correct me if I have Mr. Conable confused with some other lawmaker.

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