Wendell B. Barnes, one of the first administrators of the Small Business Administration in the Eisenhower years, is dead of a heart attack, it was learned this week.
Barnes, an Oklahoma attorney and businessman, was 75 when he died June 11 at his home in Walnut Creek.
He was prominent in Midwestern Republican circles when President Dwight D. Eisenhower named him general counsel of the new SBA in 1952. When the agency administrator, William D. Mitchell, resigned, Eisenhower put Barnes in charge.
In Washington he was known as an effective lobbyist for small businessmen, urging emergency loans and pressing the government to make more contracts available to them. He resigned in 1959 to join a brokerage firm. During his tenure the SBA loaned more than $40 million to businesses at low or favorable interest rates.
In 1964 Barnes moved to the San Francisco area, where he became an executive with the Western Wood Products Assn. He retired in 1972 but continued to work as a consultant and real estate developer.