By Frank Aukofer

Donald R. Larrabee, a founding member of the National Press Foundation board of directors, died July 18 in Washington, D.C.

Larrabee, 93, had become increasingly frail and suffered memory loss, according to his daughter, Donna Palmer.

larrabeeIn the early days of the foundation, he persuaded former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite, “the most trusted man in America,” to join the NPF’s board.

In addition to serving on the NPF board, Larrabee was president of the National Press Club in 1973.

Larrabee, born in Portland, Maine, was the owner and operator of the Griffin-Larrabee News Service on Capitol Hill, which served newspapers in New England.  He retired in 1978 after 30 years covering Congress and the government. Along the way, he served as secretary of the Standing Committee of Correspondents, the governing body for the congressional Daily Press Gallery.

After retirement, he became the director of the Washington office of the State of Maine in the National Press Building, working with his wife, Mary Beth. After her death, he remarried. His second wife, Barbara, also preceded him in death.

Larrabee was elected in 1980 to the Hall of Fame of the Washington Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He also was a member of the Gridiron Club and a frequent soloist in its annual shows.

Larrabee is survived by his daughter Donna and her husband, Jack; a brother, Henry; daughter-in-law Diana and three grandchildren.

The author, retired journalist Frank Aukofer, was also a founding member of the NPF board.