Former 6-Term Congressman Stan Parris Dies

Sunday, Mar 28, 2010  |  Updated 1:00 PM EDT
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Former 6-Term Congressman Stan Parris Dies

AP

Stan Parris

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Stanford E. Parris, a former Virginia congressman who served six terms and was an Air Force pilot during the Korean War, died Saturday. He was 80.

The Republican died from heart disease at his home in Mathews County in eastern Virginia along the Chesapeake Bay, Parris' former chief of staff, Dick Leggett, told The Associated Press.

"He was never in the majority at any point in his life, but he did achieve a great deal in terms of benefits that are still here today," Leggett said.

Parris had a major impact on northern Virginia by supporting flood-control projects and bridges, and he successfully authored legislation to end television blackouts of sold-out NFL and Washington Redskins football games.

He served in Congress from 1973-74 and then returned from 1981 through 1990. He was a member of the Banking and Finance Committee and cautioned about the looming savings and loan crisis. He ran for governor in 1985 and 1989.

Born in Champaign, Ill., he graduated from the University of Illinois and then enlisted in the Air Force. As a combat pilot who flew F-84 jets in Korea, Parris was shot down over North Korea but survived and was rescued.

He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross, among other medals, Leggett said.

Parris was elected to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, and at the time was the only Republican serving on the board. He was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1969, one of nine Republicans serving in the House then.

Parris was defeated by Democrat Herbert E. Harris in 1974 as Republicans reeled in the wake of Watergate, but he won the seat back in 1980.

President George H.W. Bush selected Parris to be administrator of the government-owned St. Laurence Seaway Development Corporation.

Funeral services will be held at Arlington National Cemetery.

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