Politician once served southern Lorain County
TOLEDO — Congressman Paul Gillmor, a Republican from a solidly conservative district in northwest Ohio who spent four decades in politics, was found dead Wednesday in his apartment near Washington. He was 68.
Gillmor was known for his quiet approach and spent nearly 20 years in Congress without drawing much attention to himself.
As a House member he was a solid Republican vote, a reliable conservative on social issues who was a strong proponent of the military and spoke out against abortion.
“He knew how to quietly get things done,” said Mary Rose Oakar, a former Democratic U.S. representative from Cleveland. “I’m not saying he wasn’t effective. He just was unassuming and quietly did his homework.”
Aides found Gillmor’s body at his town house in Arlington, Va., after he failed to show up at the Capitol for morning meetings, said John Lisle, a spokesman for Arlington County police.
Homicide investigators were called to the apartment, but foul play was not suspected, Lisle said. “It does not appear, at least preliminarily, to be anything suspicious,” he said.
A cause of death had not been released.
“Congressman Gillmor’s death comes as a great shock to us all,” said a statement released by his office. “Representative Gillmor served the people of Ohio with every ounce of his soul, and today he passed on doing the job he loved.”
His seat will remain open until a special election is held, said John McClelland, a spokesman for the Ohio Republican Party.
Gillmor was first elected to Congress in 1988 to a seat he had eyed for years. He won the GOP nomination by eking out a 27-vote victory over Robert Latta.
When the congressional districts were redrawn before the 1992 elections, Gillmor’s 5th District grew to encompass 14 counties stretching from the Indiana state line all the way into southern Lorain County, where he represented Oberlin, Wellington, Grafton and all the southern townships. He also represented Vermilion residents.
He represented that area until another redistricting, before the 2002 elections, shifted a large part of Lorain County into the 9th District, including much of the southern portion of the county that Gillmor’s district used to encompass.
Gillmor is survived by his wife, Karen, two daughters and three sons.
The Chronicle staff contributed to this story.