David Cooper Blee - Obituary
Monday, January 6, 2020

David Cooper Blee, a noted nuclear industry expert, who also served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary and later Director of Public Affairs for the U.S. Department of Energy in the Reagan Administration, died on December 29 near his family farm in Paris, Kentucky. He was 66.

Mr. Blee began a long career in national politics managing numerous political campaigns, including as campaign manager in 1982 for U.S. Senate candidate Prescott Bush in Connecticut, and later served as Chief of Staff for U.S. Representative Connie Mack of Florida. Mr. Blee went on to serve as (acting) Assistant Secretary of Energy in the Reagan administration, as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy, and then in a series of roles advocating for new nuclear energy.  At the time of his death, he was serving as the Executive Director of the United States Nuclear Infrastructure Council, and Managing Director and founder of the Forrestal Group, a strategic management group in the nuclear energy and infrastructure industry. 

Earlier in his career, Mr. Blee was an Executive Vice President for NAC International, a U.S.-based energy services and technology company, where he directed the company’s worldwide consulting group, and as a Senior Vice President for the D.C.-based strategic communications firm of Robinson, Lake, Lerer and Montgomery.

A passionate advocate for thoroughbred racing, Mr. Blee was a co-founder and director of the Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), the Kentucky horse industry’s leading political advocacy organization, and also served on the Executive Committee and as vice president of Runnymede Farm, the oldest continuously-operated thoroughbred breeding farm in Kentucky.

A son and namesake of the legendary OSS operative and CIA counter-intelligence chief, David H. Blee, and the late Margaret Blee, David was born in Karachi, Pakistan on July 4, 1953 and spent his formative years overseas, most notably in India.  Mr. Blee was a noted hunter and conservationist, having been Knighted in the International Order of St. Hubertus, an ancient international hunting fraternity. He was a member of the Keeneland Club, the Iroquois Hunt Club, Maryland’s Gibson Island Club, the George Town Club, the Georgetown Assembly, a dancing society dating back to the early the 18th Century, and a member of the Lumen Institute, a Catholic faith-based leadership group that supports the mentoring of young people and feeding the homeless. Mr. Blee earned a B.A. in economics from Dickinson College.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Elizabeth (Biz) Clay Blee; three children Cooper, Elizabeth, and Augustus Blee; and brothers Richard, John and Robert and twin sister Elizabeth.

A Visitation will be held Thursday, Jan. 2, from 5-8 p.m., with a Vigil Service from 8:00p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Milward-Broadway, 159 N. Broadway, Lexington, KY 40507.  A Funeral Mass will be held on Friday, Jan. 3, at 11 a.m. at Church of the Annunciation, 1007 Main Street, Paris, KY. 40361. A Memorial Mass will be held at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church 3513 N St., NW, Washington, DC, in Georgetown, on Monday, January 13, at 10:30 am.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations could be made to the Leadership Training Program of Bethesda, MD, or Georgetown Preparatory School Scholarship Fund.