Kenneth H. Bacon, 64, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who was top spokesman at the Pentagon during the Clinton administration and later became a prominent advocate on behalf of international refugees, died Saturday of melanoma at his vacation home on Block Island, R.I.
His primary residence was in Washington.
Bacon had spent 25 years at the Journal's Washington bureau before becoming the chief spokesman at the Pentagon in 1994.
After leaving the Pentagon in 2001, Bacon became president of the D.C.-based advocacy group Refugees International and emerged as one of the strongest voices for the dispossessed around the globe. His organization, which accepts no funding from governments or the United Nations, estimates that there are 12 million international refugees.
Bacon was among the first to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan, and he helped bring to light the problems facing millions of refugees from the war in Iraq. He was instrumental in finding sanctuary for displaced Iraqis in Middle East countries and lobbied for greater numbers of Iraqi refugees to be admitted to the United States.
Kenneth Hogate Bacon was born Nov. 21, 1944, in Bronxville, N.Y., and was a graduate of the private Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. His father was an administrator at Amherst College in Massachusetts, from which Bacon graduated in 1966. He received dual master's degrees, in business administration and journalism, from Columbia University in 1968.
After working as a legislative assistant to Sen. Thomas J. McIntyre (D-N.H.), Bacon joined the Washington bureau of the Wall Street Journal in 1969. He was the paper's Pentagon correspondent from 1976 to 1980.