Wednesday, March 11, 1992 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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S. Sterling Munro Jr., Longtime Political Insider, Bpa Ex-Chief

Funeral arrangements are being set for this weekend in Wenatchee to honor S. Sterling Munro Jr., longtime Northwest political insider and former administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration.

Mr. Munro died Monday in Seattle of a heart attack. He was 60.

Mr. Munro worked for the late U.S. Sen. Henry Jackson for 22 years as Jackson's administrative assistant. He led the BPA from 1978 to 1981.

Mr. Munro was credited with helping Jackson pass the landmark National Environmental Policy Act and the Columbia River Treaty with Canada.

While at BPA, his work led to the Pacific Northwest Power Planning and Conservation Act.

"Sterling probably meant more to this state than anybody will understand when he was the senator's chief of staff," longtime friend Ron Dotzauer, a Seattle public-affairs consultant, said yesterday.

"He probably was more involved in getting things done for the state than any other single person."

Tom Foley, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, was among the many state political figures whom Mr. Munro influenced over his long career in Congress.

"Sterling's devotion, intelligence and integrity were without compare," Foley said in a statement.

Bill First, former Foley administrative assistant who worked on the Jackson presidential campaigns, said Mr. Munro was known for his meticulousness as well as his political savvy.

Mr. Munro was puzzled in 1973 when he was listed as No. 10 on a list of enemies of President Nixon released by John Dean at the Watergate hearings.

He said he believed it must have been because of Jackson's political power in the Democratic Party.

"At least I finished higher on the list than Paul Newman," Mr. Munro quipped.

Helen Jackson, the late senator's wife, said Mr. Munro was "always vigorous and enthusiastic with a wonderful, dry sense of humor.

"He had the ability, like Scoop, to see through the extraneous stuff and get right down to the heart of the matter."

Mr. Munro was rated one of the top 10 administrative aides in Congress in a 1975 survey.

Denny Miller, who succeeded Mr. Munro as Jackson's administrative assistant, said Mr. Munro was the silent power behind protecting the North Cascades, the California redwoods and the wild and scenic-rivers system.

"He was a mentor and a big brother and he trained an awful lot of people in the Henry Jackson schoool of good government," Miller said.

After leaving Jackson's staff, Mr. Munro also worked as a private consultant and as vice president for energy projects at the investment banking firm of John Nuveen & Associates in Seattle.

Mr. Munro was a member of the Board of Trustees of Central Washington University from 1977 to 1983 and 1985 to the present.

He was born in Madison, Wis., graduated from Bellingham High School in 1949 and received a bachelor's degree in political science from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in 1957.

He is survived by his wife, Gene; seven children; and 13 grandchildren.

The family lives in Wenatchee.

A rosary will be said Sunday evening, with a Mass Monday morning at St. Joseph's Church in Wenatchee.

The times of the services will be set later this week.

Jones and Jones Funeral Home of Wenatchee is handling arrangements.

Memorials can be made to the Henry M. Jackson Foundation in Seattle and the Central Washington University Foundation in Ellensburg.

Copyright (c) 1992 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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