July 29, 2002 at 4:27 PM EST - Updated July 26 at 11:45 PM
OBERLIN, Ohio (AP) - Former U.S. Rep. Donald J. Pease, a Democrat who served in the House for 16 years, is dead at the age of 70.
A spokesman for the Dicken Funeral Home in nearby Elyria said Pease died Sunday. He would not give the cause of death. The home said the funeral would be private.
With his wife of 48 years, Jeanne, Pease had lived in Oberlin at the time of his death.
U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who succeeded Pease in the 13th District seat, praised the former congressman.
"He was a very decent, honorable and always generous man. It certainly came through in his public persona. In Congress, he always fought for the underdog," Brown said.
Brown said Pease was an untiring advocate of federal tax reform and worker-friendly trade policies. He fought to protect U.S. workers from the effects of expanded international trade, and advocated increased worker rights at home and abroad.
Brown in May won approval to name a federal building in Medina to honor Pease.
Pease was elected to Congress for a term starting in 1977 and was re-elected seven times. He served until Jan. 3, 1993. He was not a candidate for renomination in 1992.
Pease served in the Ohio Senate from 1965 to 1967 and again from 1975 to 1977. He was in the Ohio House of Representatives from 1969 to 1975.
His district covered an area west of Cleveland containing the cities of Lorain, Elyria, Oberlin and Medina.
He was born in Toledo on Sept. 26, 1931. Pease attended Ohio University and, after getting a master's degree, became a Fulbright scholar in England.
He served in the Army from 1955 to 1957. In 1957 to become editor and co-publisher of the Oberlin News-Tribune. Pease's political career began in 1961, with election to Oberlin City Council.
In retirement, Pease taught part-time at Oberlin College as a distinguished visiting professor of politics. He was also appointed by President Clinton to the board of directors of Amtrak and served five years.
He is survived by his wife, Jeanne; a daughter, Jennifer Pease Eastvold of Side Lake, Minn.; and a brother, Robert, in Cincinnati.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Don J. Pease Fund of the Lorain County Community Foundation.
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)