Chalmers Pangburn Wylie served as the United States Congressman representing the 15th Ohio Congressional District from 1967 to 1993. Born on November 23, 1920 in Norwich, Ohio, Wylie grew up in Pataskala, Ohio. He attended both Otterbein College and The Ohio State University, and in 1948 graduated from the Harvard University Law School. During World War II, Wylie enlisted in the U.S. Army as a private in 1943. He served with the 30th Infantry Division in France, Belgium, and Germany rising in rank to first lieutenant by the end of the war. After the war, he stayed in the Army Reserves, eventually retiring as a lieutenant colonel. Wylie earned the Purple Heart for wounds sustained while rescuing fallen comrades in Germany and the Silver Star for helping evacuate wounded men from a minefield under enemy fire near the Rhine River in 1945. He also received the Presidential Unit Citation with two oak-leaf clusters, the Bronze Star, the French Croix de Guerre, and Belgian Fourragere. Wylie married Marjorie Ann Siebold and had two children, Jacquelyn and Bradley.
Prior to his election to the U.S. Congress, Wylie practiced law, served as Assistant Attorney General of Ohio (1951-1954), City Attorney of Columbus (1953-1956), and was a member of the Ohio House of Representatives for the 25th district from 1961 to 1967.
As a U.S. Congressman, Wylie became a strong advocate of veterans’ benefits, supported defense spending, introduced legislation against flag desecration, and was a noted champion of school prayer. As a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, he worked at improving veteran access to medical care in Columbus, Ohio through the establishment of the Veterans’ Affairs Outpatient Clinic. He was a banking expert and served as the ranking Republican on the House Banking Committee. He became closely involved with the bailout of the savings and loan industry in 1989. Wylie and another Republican on the Banking Committee, Jim Leach, helped to win initial financing for the bailout and renewed financing for several more years. He was a believer in the cooperative form of business enterprise and played a large role in marshalling bipartisan support to pass legislation creating the National Cooperative Bank (NCB) to finance and assist in building consumer cooperatives. Wylie led opposition to providing federal money for the Library of Congress to produce a Braille edition of Playboy magazine in 1984.
Wylie’s reelection campaigns usually resulted in landslide victories, except in 1990, when he won 59 percent of the vote against an unknown opponent. In 1992, disclosure that Wylie was one of over 350 representatives who had overdrawn their House Bank accounts on numerous occasions tarnished his political standing. Although the deposits of other members covered all overdrafts and there was no loss of taxpayer money, public surveys showed that many people believed that members had bounced checks.
After retiring from Congress in January 1993, Wylie practiced law in Columbus, Ohio until his death on August 14, 1998 at the age of 77. He is buried at Saint Joseph Cemetery in Lockbourne, Franklin County, Ohio.
“Former Ohio Congressman Chalmers Wylie, 77, Dies.” Washingtonpost.com. Associated Press August 15, 1998, page C06. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/campaigns/junkie/links/wylie.htm. Accessed on May 3, 2014.
“Chalmers P. Wylie (1920-1998)”. Cooperative Hall of Fame. March 9, 1990. http://heroes.coop/archives/chalmers-p-wylie/ Accessed on May 3, 2014.
Introduction of Legislation Naming the “Chalmers P. Wylie Veterans Outpatient Clinic”. Congressional Record Volume 144, no. 125 Friday September 18, 1998 page E 1757. From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office www.gpo.gov . Accessed April 9, 2014.
“Chalmers Wylie, G.O.P. Stalwart in House, Is Dead at 77”. The New York Times Archives. http://www.nytimes.com/1998/08/15/us/chalmers-wylie-gop-stalwart-in-house-is-dead-at-77.html Accessed 5/8/2014