Ex-Valley U.S. Rep Williams dies at 66

In recent years, he worked as a health-care lobbyist in Washington, D.C.


WARREN — Lyle Williams, a three-term Republican Congressman representing the Mahoning Valley from 1979 through 1984, died of an apparent heart attack at the Italian American Club on Youngstown-Warren Road on Friday afternoon.

Williams, 66, of Lordstown, was also a Trumbull County commissioner and member of the Bloomfield-Mespo Board of Education before being elected to Congress in 1978, when he defeated longtime incumbent Democrat Charles Carney. Williams was re-elected in 1980, defeating state Sen. Harry Meshel. In 1982, he won a third term, defeating state Rep. George Tablack of Campbell. Williams lost his congressional seat in 1984 to Democrat James Traficant.

In recent years, Williams worked as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., on health-care issues.

Warren police received a 911 call about Williams from the club at 5:34 p.m. Officers said Williams was unresponsive when they arrived.

He was taken by ambulance to Forum Health Trumbull Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

Warren Mayor Michael O’Brien said Williams reported not feeling well as he walked into the club, and an ambulance was called, but he had lost consciousness before the ambulance arrived.

He was a barber before he entered politics. He was married and the father of four adult children.

“He was a very popular Republican in a predominantly Democrat District,” O’Brien said. “He always seemed to get Democrat support.”

O’Brien said Williams frequently attended festivals and other events in the Warren area after he left Congress.

He was well known for giving out roses to voters during his election campaigns, O’Brien noted.

Williams was elected Trumbull County commissioner in November of 1972, defeating two-term incumbent Gary Thompson. He was re-elected in 1976.

While in Congress, he was once describe as a “dignified fighter.”

After his time in Congress, Williams worked two years for the U.S. Department of Labor and later was a lobbyist. Most recently, Williams was executive director of the National Association of Subacute and Postacute Care, based in Washington, D.C.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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