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Former Canton-Area Congressman Ralph Regula Dies at 92

Former Republican Ohio Congressman Ralph Regula passed away Wednesday.  He was 92. 

Regula served 18 terms on Capitol Hill spanning seven presidencies.  In a 2012 interview, he recalled travelling the world with his fellow Congressmen.

“I remember Moscow, and Gorbachev was head. Deng Xiaoping, in China.  And Australia we went.  I never could have dreamed of it when I was a boy on a farm.”

Born in Beach City, Ohio, Regula served in the navy in World War II.  He graduated from Mount Union College and earned a law degree from William McKinley School of Law.  He served in the Ohio legislature before being elected to Congress in 1972.

He rose to become chair of the powerful House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, Human Services and Education.   He brought home funding for stem cell research for the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals. 

Regula helped create the Congressional Steel Caucus and opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement. 

He introduced legislation that created the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and later the Ohio and Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor. 

“That’s the beauty of the canal, in a way. It’s an understanding of our natural heritage. It’s an understanding of our historical heritage. It’s an understanding of our industrial heritage. All of that’s tied to the canal.”

In Congress, Regula fought for North America’s highest peak -- Alaska’s Mount McKinley -- to remain named after the Ohio native.  President Obama later changed it to Denali.

Throughout his time in Washington, Regula regularly returned to his farmhouse near Navarre, Ohio. But he brought his love of farming to the Smithsonian.  In 2004 Regula helped shepherd Congressional funding for a farm exhibit at the National Zoo, complete with chickens, ducks and a cow.

When he retired from Congress in 2009, Regula chose to return to Ohio -- to his family and his roots.

“Our children all live right around us - we have three, and there’s one on top of the hill and two up the road, my brother’s over here on the home farm.  My roots are here.  I just didn’t want to stay there.”

He adds, “I’m not a golfer. I love the farm. I love to get out there and clean the barn, I love to get out there and work with the cattle. I go out there every day, a couple times a day, and feed the cats and check on the cattle.”

Regula is survived by his wife and three children.

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