(House of Representatives - February 06, 2002)

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[Pages H179-H181]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 3, 2001, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Gekas) is 
recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.
  Mr. GEKAS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to enter into the Congressional 
Record remembrances of three individuals who passed away in the last 
few months.
  First, I want to recall the life of Ted Vollrath. Ted Vollrath was a 
Korean veteran who, because of the battles in which he was engaged, 
eventually lost both his legs. That did not stop him at all. He became 
active in many veterans entities and served the public in many 
different ways, but while he was doing that, he was learning karate. He 
became a black belt in karate; can my colleagues believe this now, a 
man without legs, earned a karate black belt.
  In a wheelchair he was able to perform feats never before seen, and 
he performed in London and all over the eastern seaboard and actually 
made a movie called Mr. No Legs. I saw one of the premieres of it in my 
district when it came to town.
  So he was a movie actor, an enthusiast for karate, a specialist, a 
black belt, and yet he found time to serve the various veterans 
organizations in our area, and then, on top of that, served me, our 
office, as chairman of our Service Academy Nominating Committee and did 
that for almost 20 years. He was someone who I could count on for 
advice not just on the service academies, but also on matters military 
generally, on national security and others.
  He at one time, I am also ashamed to tell my colleagues this, one 
time he said he wanted me to, in one of his karate exhibitions and 
swordsmanship exhibitions, he wanted to put an apple on the back of my 
head, have me kneel down, and then he would with one swift stroke of a 
sword cut the apple and hopefully not my neck. What I cannot understand 
is that I said, yes, I would do it, and I did. I put my head down on 
like a little table or bench there, he put the apple, we had an 
audience, et cetera, and he did it with his sword and cut the apple in 
half, did not touch any part of your speaker here, else I would not be 
  The point was that he fulfilled his life with four children and a 
wonderful church relationship and a community relationship, and 
overcame tremendous odds through his life. When we lost him, we lost a 
true contributor to our community.
  The second set of remembrances are as to Phillip Jehle. We best knew 
him, we Pennsylvania Members of the Congress, as the director of the 
Governor's office in Washington. Governor Casey at that time appointed 
Mr. Jehle as the director, but he had a whole array of services to the 
State and to the country way before that. Let me read a couple of the 
salient features of his life.
  He was a retired Washington lawyer. He had served as a chief counsel 
to a Senate committee. He had served as executive vice president of a 
pharmaceutical company, and then, as I said, the director of the 
Washington office of the Pennsylvania Governor. All of us who served in 
the Pennsylvania delegation knew him well, could approach him at any 
time to coordinate the solution of problems that were mutual to Members 
of Congress and to the Governor of the Commonwealth.
  He upon his retirement from SmithKline, where he had worked, he spent 
the rest of his time in legislation that was important to Pennsylvania 
through the Governor's office.
  His survivors include his wife of 52 years, Marcelle Auclair Jehle; 
five children, Philip F. Jehle, Christopher A. Jehle, Lawrence and 
Patricia A. Galasso of Morocco, and Kathleen M. Will of Elk Ridge; also 
a brother, three sisters and 12 grandchildren.
  He was a public servant of a special breed, and he, too, will be 
remembered through our insertion of remembrances in the Congressional 
  The third is as to our colleague Larry Coughlin, longtime member of 
the Pennsylvania delegation, a Member of Congress from southeast 
Pennsylvania, who served valiantly throughout the time that he was here 
after having served in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
  Larry was 71. He was from Montgomery County, and he was the fellow 
that, when he walked in here, was immediately noticeable for his 
gentlemanly stance and his posture, but, more than that, his elegant 
bow tie. He almost never came to this Chamber or to any function 
without a bow tie, and they were nice ones and colorful and fit the 
pattern of his gentleman qualities. So if we forget everything else 
about him, we will always be able to talk about that bow tie presence 
that he had.
  He served in Congress from 1968 to 1992. At first he represented just 
Montgomery County and then later part of Philadelphia. He endorsed 
funding SEPTA, which is a transportation authority in the southeast of 
Pennsylvania, and other mass transit agencies, housing efforts and 
antidrug education.
  He graduated from the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut, in 
1946 and from Yale University in 1950. One of his Yale classmates was 
George Herbert Walker Bush, the future President and father of our 
current President, George W. Bush.
  While attending Harvard Business School he was called to Active Duty 
by the Marine Corps in Korea, serving as an aide to the legendary 
Lieutenant General Lewis B. ``Chesty'' Puller. After his discharge, he 
returned to Harvard, earning a degree in business administration in 
  He came to Philadelphia to attend Temple University Law School, 
attending classes at night and working as a foreman on an assembly line 
at Heintz Manufacturing Company, a steel company, during the day. He 
received his degree in 1958 and became a partner at Saul Ewing Remick & 
  During Vice President Richard M. Nixon's first Presidential campaign 
in 1960, Larry decorated an old mail truck with banners, and he took 
the Nixon campaign to the streets of Philadelphia.
  By the 1960s he lived in Villanova and was involved in Montgomery 
County Republican politics. He worked for William W. Scranton's 
successful gubernatorial campaign in 1962. He himself won his first 
election in 1964, capturing a seat in the State house of 
representatives. Two years later he moved up to the State senate, and 
he was elected to his first term in Congress from the 13th District in 
  During his 24 years in Congress, he served on the Committee on the 
Judiciary and became a high-ranking member of the Committee on 
Appropriations and its Subcommittee on Transportation. As a member of 
the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control, he called 
for de-emphasis on efforts to interdict narcotics traffic and instead 
sought additional funds for destruction of cocaine processing labs, 
what he called the choke points in the drug trade.

                              {time}  1815

  He also supported funding for antidrug education programs.
  His two most competitive contests for reelection came in 1984 and 
1986 against the then Democratic State representative Joe Hoeffel. By 
the 1980s, Representative Coughlin's 13th District had been 
reapportioned to include Chestnut Hill, Roxborough, Manayunk and 
Overbrook in Philadelphia as well as Montgomery County, adding many 
more registered Democrats to his district.

[[Page H180]]

  By the way, that same Joe Hoeffel eventually became the Member of 
Congress from that area and is serving even as we speak here today as a 
Member in this current session of Congress.
  Representative Coughlin mounted successful campaigns against his 
younger opponent, however, and he won comfortably in both contests. And 
Joe, who finally won the 13th District after what we just mentioned, in 
1998 said after learning about Larry's death, ``Larry was a moderate 
who was not at ease with the aggressive wing of the Republican Party. 
He had a great record in mass transportation and urban matters. Even 
when his district was entirely suburban, he favored the regional 
approach.'' That was Joe Hoeffel's tribute to Larry.
  Unlike some of our colleagues in Congress, Representative Coughlin 
shunned the limelight. He told me there are workhorses in Congress and 
there are show horses, and he described himself as a workhorse. The 
gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Hoeffel) is the one who recalls that 
statement that was made by Larry, and he added that he was a dedicated 
public servant. There was never a whisper of anything improper or self-
  When a magazine writer claimed that men who wore bow ties were not to 
be trusted, Representative Coughlin, who never wore anything but bow 
ties, said, ``I have never known one who wasn't trustworthy.''
  After his retirement, Mr. Coughlin remained in Washington, joining 
Eckert, Seamans, Cherin & Mellott as senior counsel. Earlier this year, 
he joined the law firm of Thompson Coburn. He was president of the 
Friends of the U.S. National Arboretum, and he enjoyed gardening, 
hiking and boating.
  Mr. Coughlin is survived by his wife of 21 years, Susan MacGregor 
Coughlin; a daughter, Lisa Powell, from his first marriage to the late 
Helen Ford Swan; and three children from his second marriage to 
Elizabeth ``Betsey'' Worrell. They are daughters Lynne Samson and Sara 
Noon; and son Lawrence. He is also survived by five grandchildren.
  One other anecdote that is not part of the printed material that I 
will enter into the Congressional Record. I remember an occasion, I 
believe he was still an incumbent at the time, or maybe he had just 
moved into the outer fringes of the House of Representatives, but an 
intruder entered his house and was doing whatever these intruders do, 
and Larry corralled him. He apprehended him and held him down until the 
police arrived.
  So, again, the kind of courage we knew was his wont throughout his 
life, particularly in Korea, manifested itself in his own domicile in 
apprehending a felon. And so he was a hero in many, many different ways 
was Larry Coughlin.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Nebraska (Mr. Bereuter), 
who has been eager with me to have this hour of remembrances of Larry 
Coughlin come about.
  Mr. BEREUTER. I thank the distinguished gentleman from Pennsylvania, 
and I am very pleased to participate in this commemorative tribute for 
Larry, Lawrence, Coughlin, Jr., a terrific person, outstanding 
Congressman, and a real patriot. And I have to say that I am objective 
about that despite the fact that Larry Coughlin was one of my best 
friends in the Congress.
  He provided a tremendous amount of leadership in this Congress in so 
many ways, but of course I guess the area in which he is best known is 
his leadership for the whole Congress on urban and mass transit issues.
  Larry had a great set of priorities: family, the U.S. House of 
Representatives, and Marine Corps. He was such a courteous, cordial 
individual. He absolutely deserved and lived up to the title of ``the 
gentleman from Pennsylvania.''
  We had great respect for him, a tremendous sense of humor, we all 
enjoyed his company, but his contributions in the Congress, of course, 
were only part of the contributions he made to the country. He provided 
incredible service to Chesty Puller, one of the most famous marines of 
all. And I have a hard time saying this as a former Army officer, but 
in fact he did remarkable things.
  He provided real work, hard labor to put himself through law school, 
and he had an inspirational impact on his family. He motivated those 
children to bring out the best in their capabilities; a high value on 
education and patriotism, and it shows when you meet them today, and 
his grandchildren as well.
  One of the things that most people do not know about Larry Coughlin 
is his love for plants, trees, bushes, all kinds of plants. Larry 
worked in the soil. He loved it, and he provided some real leadership 
to organizations like the Friends of the National Arboretum, where he 
served as the president for a number of years, and he was an 
inspiration to all of us.
  He actually is responsible for involving a significant number of 
Members of Congress and their spouses in the work of the National 
Arboretum. It was one of his loves. But he took that love and you could 
see it on his own properties in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere. 
He grew up in that agricultural vein. He tells stories about working 
with his father from the youngest years of his life, and he made a 
tremendous contribution in that area, and it is something that most 
people do not know about. I think there could be an opportunity for us 
to make a fitting tribute to Larry Coughlin by doing something in the 
future for the National Arboretum, one of his real joys in life.
  We are going to miss him very, very much, and I in particular. I 
thank my colleague, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Gekas), for 
yielding to me. It is hard to itemize all the things in which Larry 
made contributions throughout his life, and even here in the House of 
Representatives. It is hard to list them all because this was a man who 
reflected the best in the House of Representatives.
  Mr. GEKAS. I thank the gentleman. And it occurred to me that we 
missed a golden opportunity to pay the ultimate tribute to Larry. We 
should have worn bow ties for this occasion while we did our 
remembrances of him.
  Mr. BEREUTER. He not only wore them, he defended them; did he not?
  Mr. GEKAS. Yes, he did, regularly.
  And so, Mr. Speaker, that concludes our remembrances on this 
occasion, and we invite every Member who wishes to add any kind of 
sentiment or remembrance to the Congressional Record to do so, and to 
let us know so that we can coordinate the whole of the Record; and, as 
I indicated previously, I hereby submit additional biographical 
information on Larry Coughlin for the Record.

    [From the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress]

                    Coughlin, Robert Lawrence, 1929-

       Coughlin, Robert Lawrence, (nephew of Clarence Dennis 
     Coughlin), a Representative from Pennsylvania; born in 
     Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pa., April 11, 129; A.B., Yale 
     University, 1950; M.B.A., Harvard Graduate School of Business 
     Administration, 1954; LL.B., Temple University Evening Law 
     School, 1958; attorney; manufacturer; captain, United States 
     Marine Corps, 1950-1952, aide-de-camp to Gen. L.B. Puller; 
     elected to Pennsylvania house of representatives, 1964; 
     elected to Pennsylvania senate, 1966; elected as a Republican 
     to the Ninety-first and to the eleven succeeding Congresses 
     (January 3, 1969-January 3, 1993); was not a candidate for 
     renomination in 1992 to the One Hundred Third Congress; is a 
     resident of Plymouth Meeting, Pa.

                [From the Washington Post, Dec. 5, 2001]

  Rep. R. Lawrence Coughlin, Jr., Dies; Represented Pennsylvania From 
                              1969 to 1993

                          (By Adam Bernstein)

       R. Lawrence Coughlin Jr., 72, a moderate Pennsylvania 
     Republican who from 1969 to 1993 represented the wealthy 
     Maine Line area of suburban Philadelphia in the House of 
     Representatives, died of cancer Nov. 30 at his weekend farm 
     in Mathews, Va. He lived in Alexandria.
       Rep. Coughlin, a lawyer, was known for championing urban 
     and mass-transit issues nationwide. He served on the 
     transportation subcommittee and the District subcommittee. He 
     also was ranking Republican on the Select Committee on 
     Narcotics Abuse and Control. On the District subcommittee, he 
     was frequently critical of then-Mayor Marion Barry's 
     leadership. At one hearing on the D.C. budget, he took Barry 
     to task for ``corruption and mismanagement'' citywide. He did 
     not pursue reelection in 1992 and became senior counsel to 
     Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott in Washington. In April, he 
     joined the Washington office of the St. Louis-based Thompson 
     Coburn law firm and concentrated on transportation and 
     international-commerce matters. He was on the board of the 
     Friends of the U.S. National Arboretum, where he was a former 
       Robert Lawrence Coughlin Jr. was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., 
     and grew up on his father's farm near Scranton, Pa. He was a 
     nephew of former representative Clarence D. Coughlin (R-Pa.). 
     The younger Rep. Coughlin

[[Page H181]]

     was a 1946 graduate of the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, 
     Conn., and a 1950 economics graduate of Yale University. He 
     received a master's degree in business administration from 
     Harvard University. He was a 1958 graduate of Temple 
     University's law school, attending classes at night while a 
     foreman on a steel assembly line during the day. He served in 
     the Marine Corps during the Korean War and was aide-de-camp 
     to Lt. Gen. Lewis B. ``Chesty'' Puller. Years later, in 
     Congress, Rep. Coughlin chaired the Capitol Hill Marines, a 
     group of congressmen who had been in the Marine Corps. He was 
     practicing law at a Philadelphia firm when he was elected to 
     the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in1 964 and to the 
     state Senate in1 966. He won his U.S. House seat in 1968, 
     when Richard S. Schweiker (R) left to make a successful bid 
     for the U.S. Senate.
       A tall, slender man with a patrician air, Rep. Coughlin was 
     known for wearing--and defending--bow ties. When a magazine 
     writer said in the 1980s that men who wore bow ties were not 
     to be trusted, Rep. Coughlin was quoted as saying, ``I've 
     never known one who wasn't trustworthy.'' His first wife, 
     Helen Ford Swan Coughlin, died in the early 1950s. His 
     marriage to Elizabeth Worrell Coughlin ended in divorce. 
     Survivors include his wife of 21 years, Susan MacGregor 
     Coughlin of Alexandria; a daughter from his first marriage, 
     Lisa Coughlin Powell of Plymouth Meeting, Pa.; three children 
     from his second marriage, Lynne Coughlin Samson of Wayne, 
     Pa., Sara Coughlin Noon of Bel Air, Md., and R. Lawrence 
     Coughlin III of Seattle; and five grandchildren.