McNamara, Robert S.
- James Patterson
McNamara, Robert S. (09 June 1916–06 July 2009), business executive, president of Ford Motor Company, U.S. secretary of defense, and president of the World Bank, was born Robert Strange McNamara in San Francisco, California, the older of two children of Robert James McNamara and Claranell (Strange) McNamara. His sister, Peggy, was born three years later. His father, of Irish descent, was a shoe salesman who rose to become sales manager of a wholesale shoe company in San Francisco. Bob, as he was called, attended public schools in Piedmont, an East Bay town bordering on Oakland. A diligent boy, he became an Eagle Scout. After graduating from Piedmont High School in 1933, he attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he compiled a splendid academic record. Elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a sophomore, he graduated in 1937 with a B.A. degree in economics. He then entered Harvard University’s Graduate School of Business Administration. Attracted especially to the field of accounting—and to the statistical analysis of business strategies—he received his M.B.A. in 1939 and returned to California to work for ten months at Price, Waterhouse and Company, an accounting firm, in San Francisco....