Jerome Waldie, former Congressman and TRPA board member, dies
April 6, 2009
Former U.S. Congressman Jerome Waldie, who served on the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency governing board for 16 years, has died, family members said. He was 84.
Waldie died Friday evening at his home in Placerville, said his daughter, Jill Waldie.
Waldie’s accomplishments at Tahoe were preceded by a 16-year state and federal political career. A Democrat, Waldie was elected to the California state Assembly from the eastern half of Contra Costa County in 1958.
He was elected to Congress in 1966, where he spoke out against U.S. involvement in Vietnam and advocated for health care reforms while compiling a pro-environment record.
Waldie had been the California Senate representative on the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Governing Board since 1992 before stepping down in December due to health reasons.
El Dorado County Supervisor Norma Santiago, who worked with Waldie on the TRPA Governing Board, called him an encouraging and kind mentor and a true statesman.
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“He is to me what any statesman should aspire to be,” Santiago said. “Dedicated to principles of public service, truly committed to serving the public good.
“He will be sorely missed.”
Michael Donahoe, conservation co-chair of the Tahoe Area Sierra Club, called Waldie “a man of profound honor.”
“He was a bulldog for saving this lake,” said Donahoe, who also made note of Waldie’s gentle and courteous demeanor. “(He was) sometimes the solitary flag-bearer for this treasure of ours. He did not lose hope ” he kept plugging away. It’s a great loss.”
Santiago and fellow county Supervisor Ron Briggs have asked that flags be flown at half-staff at county buildings this week in Waldie’s honor.
Family members will be arranging a memorial service at Lake Tahoe sometime this summer.
Waldie was born in Antioch, Calif., on Feb. 15, 1925, according to a U.S. Congress biographical directory.
He graduated from UC Berkeley in 1950 and the UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law in 1953.
Waldie served in the U.S. Army from 1943-1946.
He was a member of the California state Assembly from 1959-1966, and was the majority leader from 1961-1966.
He was elected as a Democrat by special election to the 89th Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of U.S. Representative John F. Baldwin; and then reelected four times, serving until January 1975.
Waldie ran for California governor in 1974, losing to Jerry Brown in the Democratic primary.
In a biography he prepared for the TRPA, Waldie said a highlight of his Congressional career was serving on the House Judiciary Committee that voted to impeach Richard Nixon.
Waldie also enjoyed writing, and contributed columns to newspapers including the Tahoe Daily Tribune. The topics were usually political, but sometimes personal.
He sent his final column on April 1, “Old age not for sissies,” lamenting in a light-hearted way his medical problems.
In a July column, he recounted how he met his wife, Joanne, and proposed to her on their third date. The couple celebrated their 60th anniversary last year.