HONORING THE LIFE OF CHRISTINE SARBANES; Congressional Record Vol. 155, No. 51
(House of Representatives - March 25, 2009)

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From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the 
gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Ruppersberger) is recognized for 5 
  Mr. RUPPERSBERGER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today with several of my 
colleagues from Maryland to honor Mrs. Christine Sarbanes, and the 
impact her passing will have on the citizens of our great State of 
Maryland and on our country.
  Mrs. Sarbanes is the wife of Senator Paul Sarbanes and the mother of 
John Sarbanes, who is a Member of the House of Representatives. 
Christine was the quintessential lady, polished, well-educated and 
  Many times, as lawmakers, our spouses chose to sit on the sidelines, 
but Christine was very much involved in her husband's career. In fact, 
political activism brought Senator Sarbanes and Christine together at 
Oxford in England. A champion for women's rights, she was trying to get 
women accepted into his all-male debating society.
  On the occasions when she would represent her husband at events, 
Christine was very knowledgeable on the issues. She was a hearty 
campaigner for her husband, but was even more tenacious when her son, 
John, campaigned for this seat in the House of Representatives. She 
shared her love of politics and public service with her three children, 
and they each have taken her example to serve the greater community. 
She was the true matriarch of a great and distinguished political 
  In addition to finding time to raise three children and helping her 
husband's career, she managed a full-time job teaching Latin, Greek, 
and French at Goucher College and Gilman High School, all located in 
Baltimore, where she taught for more than 20 years.
  In fact, one of my staffers, Walter Gonzalez, had the privilege of 
studying under her at Gilman. He described her as firm, but effective. 
She taught his 11th-grade speech class and advised him on his senior 
class speech. Laughing, he recalled yesterday how she coached him day 
after day. She would say, ``Speed up, slow down, enunciate your words, 
too loud, emphasize the points.'' He said Christine was a passionate 
teacher who communicated her respect for her subjects with grace and 
  A lifelong lover of libraries and art, Christine also found time to 
serve on several cultural boards and talked the Walters Art Gallery 
into eliminating their admission fees. She wanted all people, and 
especially children, to have the ability to experience culture. But she 
also wanted them to have basic survival needs. She did this through 
tireless work with the United Nations children's fund.
  Christine enjoyed high regard from important people. But I will 
always remember how she treated everyday people who crossed her path 
with dignity and respect.
  Maryland has lost a truly admired political presence. And on behalf 
of the residents of Maryland's Second District and the State of 
Maryland, I would like to express my sympathies to the Sarbanes family 
and thank them for sharing a talented and giving woman with our State 
and our country.