BETHLEHEM TWP, Ohio - On Wednesday, July 19, trustee emeritus and former Congressman Ralph Regula '48, passed away at his home surrounded by family at the age of 92.
A U.S. Navy veteran, Regula attended Mount Union on the G.I. bill, graduating in 1948. During his time as a student at Mount Union, he met his beloved wife, Mary (Rogusky '49). He began his career as a teacher and principal while attending the William McKinley School of Law from which he earned an L.L.B. degree in 1956. Upon completion of his degree, he opened his own law practice.
His interest in public service and his background in education brought him to serve on the Ohio Board of Education. A few years later, he was elected to the Ohio General Assembly, first as a state representative and then as a state senator. Regula was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1973 - the first of 18 straight victories before deciding not to seek re-election in 2008. At the time of his retirement, he was the second longest serving Republican in the House with the longest continuous term of anyone ever from Ohio.
During his time in Congress, he served as a member of the influential Appropriations Committee and also as the ranking Republican on the Committee's Interior subcommittee. He also served on the Appropriations Commerce, Justice, State, and Judiciary subcommittees as well as the Select Committee on Aging as the ranking Republican on that committee's subcommittee on Health and Long-term Care.
Among his many accomplishments, he is credited with establishing the Stark County Regional Planning Commission, creating the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine and Stark State College, shepherding legislation to establish the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area, forming the Ohio and Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor, and establishing the National First Ladies' Library with Mary.
During his career, he remained a loyal alumnus of and advocate for Mount Union. He joined the Mount Union Board of Trustees in 1964 and earned an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the institution. In honor of his commitment to public service, the Ralph and Mary Regula Center for Public Service and Civic Engagement was named in his and his wife's honor. Following his retirement, he continued his involvement with the campus community, attending events, talking with students, and supporting efforts to advance the center and the Regula Scholars program.
The Regula's have three children - Martha, David '76, and Richard - and four grandchildren.
A celebration of life will be held on campus in the coming weeks. Details will be shared as they are received.
“Congressman Regula was a respected alumnus, trustee, and member of the Mount Union community for more than 70 years," said Mount Union President Dick Merriman. "His contributions to the campus community, to our students, and to Northeast Ohio have changed thousands of lives for the better. He represented the values of our institution throughout his incredible 36 years as a member of Congress, truly defining what it means to be a responsible citizen and leader. Our thoughts are with his wife Mary and the rest of the Regula family through this difficult time.”
Memorial gifts can be directed to alumni.mountunion.edu/donation and select the option for the Regula Center. Checks should be made out to the University of Mount Union with Regula Memorial on the memo line. They can be mailed to the Regula Center at 1972 Clark Ave. Alliance, Ohio 44601.
Questions can be directed to Abby Honaker Schroeder, director of the Regula Center, at (330) 829-8168 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
National and regional coverage remembering the life of Ralph Regula can be found below.