Clayton Yeutter, the former USDA Secretary for President George H.W. Bush and U.S. trade representative under President Reagan, died on Saturday, March 4 after a four-year battle with colon cancer, reports the Omaha World-Herald. He was 86 years old.

Earlier this year, Yeutter was inducted into the Meat Industry Hall of Fame. He was unable to attend the ceremony in Atlanta, but he sent a video expressing his gratitude.

The Eustis, Nebraska, native served as U.S. secretary of agriculture under President George H.W. Bush beginning in 1989. Before that he served as U.S. trade representative under President Ronald Reagan, leading negotiations of what was then the U.S. Canada Free Trade Agreement, which later became NAFTA. By 1991 he became chairman of the Republican National Committee, though a year later he was back with Bush as a counselor to the president.

Earlier in his career he held two sub-Cabinet appointments in the Department of Agriculture and then a sub-Cabinet appointment in the Office of the Special Trade Representative. Straddling these public sector undertakings was a seven-year tenure as CEO of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Yeutter also played a major role in launching the Uruguay Round of negotiations, which culminated in creation of the World Trade Organization. He and his team negotiated a whole host of bilateral agreements, including historic agreements with Japan on semiconductors, beef and citrus. In addition, he was heavily involved in helping persuade the European Union to begin reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy. As Secretary of Agriculture, Yeutter managed the 1990 Farm Bill process, resulting in the most market oriented policy the U.S. had followed since the 1930s.

He is survived by his wife of 21 years, Cristena Bach Yeutter, of Potomac. He is also survived by his children Brad (Deb) of Lincoln, NE, Gregg (Jill) of Omaha, NE, Kim Bottimore (John) of Vienna, VA, Van (Shelley) of Chevy Chase, MD, and Victoria, Elena and Olivia, all of Potomac, nine grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 8, at The Fourth Presbyterian Church, 5500 River Rd., Bethesda, MD. A reception will immediately follow in the Upper Room of the church. Private burial will be at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be directed to the University of Nebraska Foundation for the support of the Clayton Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance (#01126990), University of Nebraska Foundation, 1010 Lincoln Mall, Suite 300, Lincoln, NE 68508.

His full obituary can be found here:

Source: Omaha World-Herald,