Former Dayton Congressman dies

Former Dayton Congressman Charles Whalen Jr. has died, according to friends living in the Dayton area.

Mr. Whalen, who served in Ohio’s Third District and in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1966-1979, died Monday morning in Bethesda, Md., said Dick DeLon, Mr. Whalen’s former administrative assistant. Mr. Whalen was 90.

“I would say he was a moderate Republican,” said DeLon, a retired certified public accountant and chair of the Dayton Philharmonic Board. “He had a good working relationship with those on both sides of the aisle.”

DeLon, a Kettering resident, met Whalen in 1965 while doing research for the Legislative Service Commission that was funded by a Ford Foundation grant. Whalen was a state senator at the time.

“He impressed me as a very thoughtful and informed legislator,” DeLon said. “He was so well-respected.”

Mr. Whalen asked DeLon to serve on his campaign. He ran for U.S. Congress in 1966 and was elected. He won the seat as a U.S. Representative for Ohio’s Third District five times, running unopposed once.

“Chuck’s principal work as a state senator in 1965 through 1966 involved the enactment of a Fair Housing Law, Ohio’s first major civil rights bill of that era,” DeLon said. And a report of the Senate Labor and Education Committee Whalen chaired “became the impetus for creating vocational school districts in Ohio.”

Mr. Whalen left office in 1979 and was succeeded by Democrat Tony Hall.

“If there were more men and women in Congress today like Chuck Whalen, political debate would be far more civil and fact oriented and the public’s perception of Congress far more trusting and positive,” DeLon said. “I think he has given us a legacy worthy of his 90 plus years.”

Mr. Whalen was born in Dayton in 1920, graduated from Oakwood High School, and received a degree in business education at the University of Dayton in 1942. He also received a graduate degree of business from Harvard. Mr. Whalen later went on to be an economics professor at UD and donated his congressional papers to the university. Some of the items referenced in the papers included civil rights and the Vietnam War.

Whalen is survived by his wife Barbara Gleason Whalen, four sons, two daughters and seven grandchildren.

A Catholic Mass has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at Holy Angels Church, 1322 Brown St. The burial service will be held at Calvary Cemetery, 1625 Calvary Dr.

Read more about Whalen in Wednesday’s print edition of the Dayton Daily News.

Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2414 or kwynn@DaytonDailyNews.com.