Robert E. Nagle, who as general counsel of the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare was one of the architects of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, died on Saturday night in McLean, Va., following a battle with cancer. He was 84.
From 1979 until 1982, Mr. Nagle was executive director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., and since 1982, he had been an attorneyin private practice and an arbitrator for issues arising under collective bargaining agreements. He also was a multiemployer plan trustee.
Frank Cummings, an attorney who was chief of staff to Sen. Jacob K. Javits, R-N.Y., during the development of ERISA, said in a telephone interview that Mr. Nagle “really was a great guy.” Mr. Nagle had been appointed as the committee's general counselby Sen. Harrison A. Williams Jr., D-N.J., then-chairman of the committee that drafted the bill that became ERISA.
“He was a nice, competent, civilized, effective staff guy for Williams and made a lot of things possible that might not have been possible,” Mr. Cummings said.
“Those were the days when Republicans and Democrats were civilized and they dealt with each other in a straightforward and respectful manner,” Mr. Cummings added. “Bob Nagle was instrumental in that whole relationship that led to the legislation that came out of the Senate Labor Committee.”
Mr. Nagle, a graduate of Wesleyan University and the University of Chicago Law School, also recently served as a member of the Bloomberg BNA Benefits Practice Resource Advisory Board and was a Michael S. Gordon fellow with the Pension Rights Center.
“There were few people in the employee benefits field as knowledgeable or as wise as Bob, and no one ever had a kinder heart. He was a gentle man and good man in every sense of those words and will be deeply missed,” said Norman Stein, senior policy adviser of the Pension Rights Center and professor at Drexel School of Law, in an e-mailed statement.
Rob Nagle, Mr. Nagle's son, said arrangements and donation information are pending.