Rep. Paul Gillmor Found Dead in Apartment

Sep 5, 2007 02:34 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Ohio has lost one of its leaders in Washington. His staff confirms that Ohio Congressman Paul Gillmor was found dead in his suburban Washington DC apartment on Wednesday. There's no word yet on how the 68-year-old died.

"The Congressman had some appointments this morning. When he did not show up for them this morning, we attempted to call him," said Brad Masko, Communications Director for Rep. Gillmor's Office. "The Congressman's chief of staff and I drove out to his townhouse to check on him. We have a spare key. We entered, and were able to confirm that the Congressman had passed."

The Arlington County Police Department in Virginia has released a preliminary finding that there was nothing suspicious about Gillmor's death. The department says there were no signs of foul play, and no signs of forced entry. Two aides, who had a key to the house, found Gillmor near the interior steps that lead to the second floor.

Gillmor, who represented the Bowling Green area, had spent nearly 20 years in Congress. He first won his House seat back in 1988, after eking out a 27-vote victory in the primary.

Gillmor was a reliable conservative on social issues, and led legislative efforts to cleanup brownfields and enact financial service reforms. Earlier, he rose to president of the Ohio Senate during 22 years there.

"Last week, he and I were together all throughout 16 counties in his district," said Masko. "He was putting in 15-hour days. He was really working his hardest for the people of the 5th Congressional District. If he had health issues, at the time they were relatively minor."

"At this point, we don't know if they had anything to do with his death," said Masko. "But from the way he was working last week, he was working hard to serve the people."

According to his official House web site, Gillmor represented Ohio's 5th District since he was first elected to Congress in 1988. Ohio's 5th District includes all of Crawford, Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Huron, Paulding, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca, Van Wert, Williams and Wood counties, and parts of Ashland, Lucas, Mercer and Wyandot counties.

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland released a statement on the death of Gillmor:

"I am very saddened by the loss of Congressman Paul Gillmor. Frances and I offer our deepest condolences to his family, friends and constituents. Paul was a friend and a colleague. I count myself as fortunate to have served with him on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Ohio has lost a truly decent and devoted public servant."

Senator George Voinovich, (R) Ohio, also released a statement after the death was announced:

"Janet and I are shocked and saddened by the sudden death of our friend Paul. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his dear wife Karen and to his children. Paul was one of the most conscientious public servants I've ever met and was tireless in his work to represent his constituents. Paul's leadership was also outstanding during his years in the Ohio General Assembly and we worked on many issues together over the years. Paul was a role model for all of us who serve in public office. His service to Ohio and our nation will be greatly missed."

Gillmor served on the House Committee on Financial Services, the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises, and the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity.

His web site says Gillmor was elected in 2006 by representatives of the 26 NATO countries to serve as Vice President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, and served as a Deputy Minority Whip for the current Congress, and was beginning his eighth term as a member of the Republican Whip team.

Throughout his career in public service, his web site lists numerous awards Gillmor has received for his accomplishments from groups representing businesses, veterans, senior citizens, educators, prosecuting attorneys, civil service employees, and environmental concerns. Most recently, he was honored by the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce for his efforts to successfully prevent the Toledo Air National Guard Base from closing and for saving more than 1,000 jobs.

Congressman Gillmor received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Ohio Wesleyan University and his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School. He is a graduate of Old Fort High School in Seneca County. Mr. Gillmor also holds honorary degrees from Heidelberg College, Defiance College, Ohio University, Tiffin University, and Rio Grande College.

As a United States Air Force veteran, Mr. Gillmor attained the rank of Captain while on active duty. As an Air Force Judge Advocate, Mr. Gillmor served during the Vietnam Conflict from 1965-1966.

Gillmor leaves behind a wife, Karen, two daughters, Linda and Julie, and three sons, Paul Michael, and twins, Connor and Adam.

On the Web:
Paul Gillmor's Official House Web Page: