John F. Seiberling

John Frederick Seiberling, Jr.

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 14th district
In office
January 3, 1971  January 3, 1987
Preceded by William Hanes Ayres
Succeeded by Thomas C. Sawyer
Personal details
Born (1918-09-08)September 8, 1918
Akron, Ohio
Died August 2, 2008(2008-08-02) (aged 89)
Copley, Ohio
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Behr
Children three
Alma mater
Awards Legion of Merit
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1942–1946
Battles/wars World War II

John Frederick Seiberling, Jr. (September 8, 1918 – August 2, 2008) was a United States Representative from Ohio. In 1974, he helped to establish what later became the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and served on the House Judiciary Committee that held the impeachment hearings against President Richard Nixon.[1]

Early years

Born in Akron, Ohio, Seiberling attended the public schools of Akron, and Staunton Military Academy in Virginia. He received his A.B. from Harvard University in 1941. His parents, Lieut. John Frederick Seiberling (1888–1962) and Henrietta McBrayer Buckler (1888–1979), had been wed on October 11, 1917 in Akron, Ohio. He had two sisters: Mary Gertrude Seiberling (born 1920) and Dorothy Buckler Lethbridge Seiberling (born 1922). His paternal grandparents were Frank Seiberling, the founder of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, and Gertrude Ferguson Penfield. His maternal grandparents were Julius Augustus Buckler and Mary Maddox.

The Legion of Merit Award

Army years

During World War II he served in the United States Army from 1942 to 1946. He was subsequently awarded the Legion of Merit for his participation in the Allied planning of the D-Day invasion.[2]

Education and law years

Seiberling received his LL.B. from Columbia Law School in 1949. In 1950, Seiblerling was admitted to the New York bar and went into private practice. He became an associate with a New York firm from 1949 to 1954, and then became a volunteer with the New York Legal Aid Society in 1950. From 1954 to 1970, he was an attorney with Goodyear. He once took a leave of absence rather than cross the picket lines during a United Rubber Workers strike.[2][3] During this time he was a member of the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission in Akron from 1964 to 1970.

Political life

In 1970, Seiberling won the Democratic nomination for Ohio's 14th congressional district, based in Akron. Running on an anti-Vietnam War platform, he then defeated 10-term Republican William H. Ayres by 12 points in a major upset. He would be reelected seven more times from this district,[3] He never faced substantive opposition in what became a solidly Democratic district. He won each of his seven reelection bids with over 70 percent of the vote. He did not run for reelection in 1986, and endorsed Akron Mayor Tom Sawyer as his successor. After his time in Congress, Seiberling served as faculty at the law school of the University of Akron from 1992 to 1996.

Political legacy

He participated in the 1975 Congressional delegation meetings in the Middle East that helped precipitate the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty.[2] Seiberling is credited with conserving the third most amount of land in American history, with 49 Million acres in Alaska alone, behind only Theodore Roosevelt and Bill Clinton. He also co-authored the articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon.


The Presidential Citizens Medal, was awarded to John Seiberling in 2001.

On January 8, 2001, he was presented with the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Clinton.[4] On Thursday, October 12, 2006, President George W. Bush signed into law H.R. 6051, which designates the Federal building and United States courthouse in Akron as the John F. Seiberling Federal Building and United States Courthouse.[5] Seiberling's legacy is honored at 2370 Everett Road; a Covered bridge in Bath, Ohio for being known as the Chief founder of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. He worked tirelessly during his sixteen-year tenure in congress to fulfill a childhood dream of establishing the Cuyahoga Valley as a protected part of the National Park system.

Family life & death

He married Elizabeth "Betty" Behr, a Vassar graduate, in 1949. They have three sons: John B., David and Stephen. John Seiberling's cousin, Francis Seiberling, was also a U.S. Representative from Ohio (Republican). His mother, Henrietta Buckler Seiberling, was a seminal figure in Alcoholics Anonymous' founding and core spiritual ideals.[6][7] His paternal grandfather was Frank Seiberling, founder of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.[6] The family's one-time home, Stan Hywet, is now a national museum.[6]

Seiberling died of respiratory failure at his home in Copley, Ohio on August 2, 2008.[1]



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United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
William H. Ayres
United States Representative (district 14) from Ohio
Succeeded by
Thomas C. Sawyer
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