Friends, Colleagues, Constituents Remember Ralph Regula As Farmer, Car Collector and Moderate

Aug 13, 2017

Former Congressman Ralph Regula represented Northeast Ohio from 1973 until his retirement in 2009. He helped convince then-President Gerald Ford to sign the bill that created the Cuyahoga Valley National Park by telling him he would otherwise lose Ohio in the 1976 election -- which is what ended up happening anyway.
Credit WESTERN RESERVE PUBLIC TELEVISION

About 200 people gathered for a memorial in Alliance over the weekend for former Congressman Ralph Regula, who died last month at age 92.

The ceremony took place at Riggs Memorial Plaza at the University of Mount Union on Saturday as 18-term Congressman Ralph Regula was remembered for everything from helping to establish the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to driving with a lead foot.

Debbie Neale knew Regula when she worked as a lobbyist for B.F. Goodrich starting in the 1970s and 1980s. She, and many others, said they wished more lawmakers would reach across party lines today, as Regula – a Republican – did during his 36 years in Congress.

“He was one of the really good, decent people. He was almost non-partisan. He was the old-fashioned kind of Republican who cared more about their country and making things happen than about the ‘R’ or ‘D’ after their name.”

Regula – a 1948 Mt. Union graduate – was also remembered for his service to constituents in and around Stark County until his retirement in 2009.

Regula’s son, David, says his father loved the environment and also loved driving Ford Thunderbird convertibles.

“When he’d drive back from Columbus (as a state lawmaker) with the convertible down, he said, ‘I always felt dirtier. You know, there is something with this pollution.’ I think it kind of pushed him to understand that we did need to clean up the environment. He has a 2003 that he got when he retired, and I remember him making a remark, ‘It feels cleaner. Maybe we actually got something done.’”

A one-hour documentary that aired on Western Reserve Public Television is available here.