Dean Burch; Goldwater Presidential Campaigner

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Dean Burch, the affable Arizona attorney who played a leading role in securing the 1964 presidential nomination for Barry Goldwater and who was 36 when he subsequently became head of the Republican National Committee, died Sunday at his home here of bladder cancer.

The former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and adviser to Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford was 63.

Most recent, he had been director general of the communications satellite consortium Intelsat.


Burch, from Tucson, was a friend and top aide to Goldwater when the Arizona Republican was nominated for President. He then became deputy director of Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign and directed the senator’s successful California primary campaign when Goldwater was battling Nelson A. Rockefeller for the nomination.

Burch became chairman of the Republican National Committee in July, 1964, and served until the next year.

After Goldwater’s landslide defeat by President Lyndon B. Johnson, many Republican leaders demanded Burch’s ouster. He chose to resign rather than fight for the job.

During the Nixon Administration, in 1969, he was named to the FCC and served until 1974.

Burch also was a longtime friend of President Bush and served as chief of Bush’s vice presidential campaign in 1980.

During Bush’s successful 1988 presidential race, Burch was an adviser not only on the general election, but in dealing with various conservative elements in the Republican Party.

Bush and his wife, Barbara, visited Burch at his suburban home here last April during his illness.


In a statement issued Sunday by White House spokesman Sean Walsh, Bush said he was deeply saddened by Burch’s death.

“Dean has been a personal adviser and counsel to me for many years,” Bush said in the statement. “His wisdom and strength have helped in political campaigns, in governing and in various aspects of our family life.”

Irving Goldstein, chairman of Comsat, which is the U.S. treaty signatory to Intelstat, said: “Perhaps Dean’s greatest accomplishment occurred just last week when the Soviet Union joined Intelsat as its 121st member, thus virtually completing the global reach of the network.”

Burch had directed the global commercial satellite consortium since 1987.

Washington Post political reporter and columnist David Broder once said of Burch, a lifelong conservative: “He took the issues seriously but was wonderfully irreverent about himself.”

Survivors include his wife, Patricia, a son, two daughters and a grandson.