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Posted on Wed, Jun 23, 2010 : 7:35 p.m.

Former U.S. Congressman Marvin Esch of Ann Arbor dies

By Juliana Keeping

Former U.S. Congressman Marvin Esch of Ann Arbor has died. He was 82.

A Republican, Esch served in the Michigan State House of Representatives from 1965 to 1966 before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he represented Ann Arbor and southeastern Michigan through 1976. That year, he made an unsucccessful bid for the U.S. Senate, losing to Democrat Donald Riegle in the general election.

A veteran of both the U.S. Maritime Service and the United States Army, Esch was the most proud of helping his constituents navigate problems they were having with the federal government, especially widows and veterans, his family said.

In Congress, he pushed for an accelerated end to the Vietnam War and to create an all-volunteer military, his family said. He counted Gerald Ford, another University of Michigan graduate, as his friend and stood by him when Ford was sworn in as the 38th president the day that Richard Nixon resigned.

Born in Flinton, Penn., on Aug. 4, 1927, Esch went on to attend the University of Michigan, where he earned an A.B. in 1950, an M.A. in 1951 and a PhD in 1957. He remained a lifelong U-M sports fan, his family said.

After his time in politics, he served as director of public affairs for the U.S. Steel Corporation from 1977 to 1980, and then as the director of programs and seminars for the American Enterprise Institute from 1981 to 1987. Before his retirement in 1992, he worked on a number of philanthropic projects with The Communication Group.

Esch died in in sleep Saturday, two days after celebrating his 60th anniversary with his wife, Olga, who survives. Esch is also survived by his brother Gordon Esch of Pinehurst, North Carolina; daughter Emily Esch of Bigfork, Montana; son Tom Esch and his wife Charlene of Kalispell, Montana, his grandson and numerous nieces and nephews. His son, Leonel, died in 2006.

His family remembers him as a kind man who loved to tell and hear stories and as an optimist who made and cherished lifelong friendships. His relationship with his wife and his hope for the country could be summed up in the phrase, "And the best is yet to be!"


Tom Esch

Sat, Jun 26, 2010 : 8:18 a.m.

Phil, Good question. The answer is no. Years ago my brother lived in that neighborhood and we would drive by an wonder the same thing. Our dad told us it was named for someone else. tom esch

Phil Dokas

Thu, Jun 24, 2010 : 9:22 a.m.

Is there any connection between Congressman Esch and Esch street in the Georgetown neighborhood of Ann Arbor?