Other Notable Deaths


March 18, 2009


Transportation secretary under Nixon

Claude Brinegar, who led an overhaul of the railroad industry and saw the nation through the oil crisis of 1973 as the third U.S. transportation secretary, died Friday of natural causes in Palo Alto, Calif.

President Richard M. Nixon nominated Mr. Brinegar to head the Department of Transportation in late 1972. At the time, Mr. Brinegar was a senior vice president at Union Oil Co., where he had worked since 1953.

During his tenure as secretary, Mr. Brinegar led efforts to overhaul the collapsed Northeastern railroad industry, ultimately resulting in the creation of Conrail Inc. He served as a founding director of Conrail from 1974 to 1975 and joined the board again from 1990 to 1998. He served on the board of CSX Corp., which acquired part of Conrail, until 2002.

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