Robert D. Partridge

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association - Inducted in 2009

Memories of life on a farm without power aroused Bob Partridge's interest in rural electrification.  In a career of more than forty years, Partridge not only worked to electrify rural America, he gained informal recognition as "electrification personified".


Partridge worked as an economist and program analyst at Rural Electric Administration (REA) for 15 years.  In 1961 he became the senior legislative representative for National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) in Washington.  In 1968 he was named the CEO at NRECA, a position he held until 1984.  He built a solid reputation for honesty, candor, and forthrightness.  During his tenure the speed with which electric cooperative legislation surged through Congress prompted the Wall Street Journal to call NRECA the "second most powerful lobby". 


Bob Partridge received many awards including induction to the national Cooperative Hall of Fame.  In 1983 the University of Missouri conferred an honorary doctor of science degree and later endowed the Robert D. Partridge Chair in cooperative leadership. 


Bob's heart remained in Missouri.  He returned frequently and gave generously to the University and to help Missouri cooperatives.


"He was a builder of trust, a builder of consensus, and a builder of economic expansion for rural America." 


a great builder, a champion of rural electrification, extraordinary leadership, vision, enthusiasm, honesty and life long dedication to the well being of others