DAVID DENNISON Jr., 83 Former congressman and GOP leader
He was a member of the Federal Trade Commission for seven years.
WARREN -- David Short Dennison Jr., who had a long career in politics, including a term as a U.S. congressman, died Friday at 83, after a brief illness.
Dennison, a Republican from Warren, served in the U.S. House from 1957 to 1959, representing Ohio's 11th District, which included Ashtabula County and portions of Trumbull and Portage counties.
"He had a great reputation," said Lyle Williams, a former Mahoning Valley congressman serving from 1979 to 1985 and a fellow Republican.
"He was pretty well known in this town," Williams said today from his Washington, D.C., office. "He was an active and respected guy."
Election: Dennison easily defeated Democrat James P. Bennett in the November 1956 election for the House seat. But his time in Congress was short. He was defeated in November 1958 by Democrat Robert Cook.
"The right-to-work act surfaced that year and every Republican got beat because they supported it," said Warren Atty. Charles E. Wern Jr., who was Dennison's law partner from 1963 to 1970. "The other reason he lost was Jack Kennedy came to Warren and because of that, every Republican who ran here got whooped. He was greatly admired in Congress and was an upcoming junior congressman before his defeat."
Dennison took on Cook, of Kent, in the 1960 congressional race, losing by 4,192 votes, primarily because Cook did so well in his home county of Portage. An active civil rights proponent during his term in the House, Dennison served as a consultant to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission in Washington, D.C., after his 1958 defeat.
Lawyer: Dennison also opened a law firm with Wern in 1963.
"He was an absolutely superb lawyer," said Wern, who met Dennison during the 1958 congressional campaign.
It was also during that campaign that Dennison developed a long-time friendship with Donald Rumsfeld, who serves as the U.S. secretary of defense, Wern and Williams said.
Dennison was elected Trumbull Republican chairman in 1964 and was elected to the Republican state central committee in 1968.
FTC member: Then-President Richard Nixon named Dennison to a seven-year term on the Federal Trade Commission in 1970. Dennison was active in Nixon's 1960 and 1968 presidential campaigns and served with him in Congress.
Dennison resigned Dec. 31, 1973, to become vice president-secretary and general counsel of Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp.
He practiced law in California from the late 1970s through the mid 1990s, returned to his hometown of Warren in 1996 and continued his practice there until retiring last year.
Early years: He was born in the Youngstown suburb of Poland on July 29, 1918, grew up in Warren and graduated from Williams College in 1940.
After serving as a volunteer ambulance driver with the American Field Service, Dennison was assigned to the British Eighth Army in Africa in 1942 and 1943. After returning home, he attended Western Reserve University Law School in Cleveland, from which he graduated with honors in 1945.
A memorial service will take place Oct. 4 at St. John's Episcopal Church in Youngstown.