Berney Truan Wilburn

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Berney Truan Wilburn 2008

Berney Truan Wilburn, 89, who promoted travel and tourism with the Commerce
Department and the Department of Transportation, died Nov. 19 at the home of a  friend,
Grace Kayatta, in Fairfax County. He had bone
cancer.

Mr. Wilburn was born in Knoxville, Tenn., and came to Washington as a  teenager. He
graduated from
Central High School in 1937.

After graduating from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, he served in the Merchant
Marine during World War II, delivering arms and ammunition to every theater of battle.

After the war, Mr. Wilburn returned to Washington to attend Georgetown University's
School of Foreign Service, from which he graduated in 1948.

He began his career in 1948 with a Merchant Marine lobbying group. In the early 1960s,
he joined the U.S. Travel Service, the newly formed Commerce Department agency. Mr.
Wilburn traveled all over the world to promote U.S. tourism. He later held a similar
position with the Department of Transportation until his retirement in the 1980s.

Mr. Wilburn settled in the Lincolnia Park community of Fairfax County in 1956 and was
president of the neighborhood civic association. He was a member of the Elks Club and
was active in alumni affairs of the Merchant Marine Academy.

His wife of 56 years, Virginia Ashby Wilburn, died in 2003. A son, Berney T. Wilburn Jr.,
died in 1953.

Survivors include Kayatta, his companion of several years; three children,  John Ashby
Wilburn of Houston, Patricia Wilburn Pretsch of Alexandria and M'Lou Wise of Flower
Mound, Tex.; a brother, Gene Wilburn of Frederick; and four grandchildren.


-- Matt Schudel - The Washington Post 2008