Watergate prosecutor dead at 74

PORTLAND -- Thomas F. McBride, former associate Watergate prosecutor and associate dean at Stanford Law School, has died. He was 74.

McBride died Oct. 31 after falling in Portland's Laurelhurst Park, said his wife, Catherine Milton.

The fall happened the day before McBride was to attend an event in Washington, D.C., marking the 30th anniversary of the "Saturday Night Massacre," when President Nixon fired Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox, and other events leading to the president's resignation.

"He was looking forward to it," Milton said Monday. "He even bought a new outfit."

Milton said she and her husband were having dinner when the news bulletin hit in 1973.

"Our son came in yelling 'Dad, dad, you've just been abolished," Milton recalled.

Milton said her husband, fearing that important paperwork would be destroyed, immediately drove to the office to remove files for safety and preservation.

As associate prosecutor, McBride led the task force on campaign contributions and the selling of ambassadorships. He was responsible for accepting guilty pleas from some high-level corporate and other officials, such as George Steinbrenner and Maurice Stans, Nixon's chief fund-raiser for his re-election campaign.

McBride was born in Elgin, Ill. He attended Columbia Law School and began his legal career as a prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney's office before going to Washington D.C. to become a trial lawyer for the organized crime task force set up by Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

Following Kennedy's assassination, he joined the Peace Corps, where he was deputy director for Latin America. After Watergate, he became the first inspector general of the Department of Agriculture.

In 1982, he moved the California to become associate dean at Stanford Law School. During this time, he also served on the President's Commission on Organized Crime and the California Council on Mental Health.

From 1989 to 1992, McBride directed Stanford's department of environmental health and safety. He then moved to Washington D.C., where his wife was the executive director of the Commission on National and Community Service.

The couple moved to Portland in 2002.

Besides his wife, he is survived by a brother, a sister and four adult children.