Walter Capps

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Walter Capps
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 22nd district
In office
January 3, 1997 – October 28, 1997
Preceded by Andrea Seastrand
Succeeded by Lois Capps
Personal details
Born Walter Holden Capps
(1934-05-05)May 5, 1934
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
Died October 28, 1997(1997-10-28) (aged 63)
Reston, Virginia, U.S.
Resting place Santa Barbara Cemetery
Santa Barbara, California, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Lois Capps (1960–1997, his death)

Walter Holden Capps (May 5, 1934 – October 28, 1997) was an American politician. He was a Democratic Party member of the United States House of Representatives. Capps lost an election to Andrea Seastrand for the 22nd district in California in 1994, which was a landslide year for the Republicans. While driving home from a campaign event during the summer of 1996, Capps' vehicle was struck by a drunk driver. Capps was seriously injured and was unable to actively campaign until the final few weeks of the race. During his absence from the campaign, his opponent, graciously, didn't make his failing health an issue. Ultimately, despite his absence from the campaign trail, Capps won, even as Bob Dole edged Bill Clinton in the district.

Capps died of a heart attack at Dulles Airport only nine months into his term. The Reverend Jesse Jackson attended his funeral. Capps was succeeded by his widow, Lois Capps, who won in a special election in the spring of 1998. Subsequent legislation by Congresswoman Capps has mandated the presence of AEDs in public places.

Before entering politics, Capps taught for more than thirty years at the University of California, Santa Barbara. As a Professor in the Religious Studies department he helped define the field, and cataloged the growth and changes in his 1995 book Religious Studies: The Making of a Discipline. An anti-war activist during the 1960s, he later initiated a nationally renowned course titled "Religion and the Impact of Vietnam" in 1979.

His name lives on in the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion and Public Life at the University of California, Santa Barbara.


Capps received both a master's degree and PhD from Yale Divinity School.[1] On May 30, 1997 Capps received an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Theology at Uppsala University, Sweden [2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Educational History
  2. ^

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Andrea Seastrand
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 22nd congressional district

January 3, 1997 – October 28, 1997
Succeeded by
Lois Capps