Sunday, July 6, 2003

Ex-officeholder Anthony Celebrezze Jr. dead at 61

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - Anthony Celebrezze Jr., a former Ohio attorney general and secretary of state who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 1990, has died, his family said Saturday. He was 61.

Celebrezze suffered a heart attack Friday night at an auto racing track in De Graff, family spokesman Wayne Hill said.

Hill said that Celebrezze, who raced a replica of a 1937 Chevrolet sedan, complained that he wasn't feeling well after his first race and went to lie down. He was pronounced dead at the track, 55 miles northwest of Columbus.

Celebrezze was elected as a state senator in 1974, secretary of state in 1978 and attorney general in 1983.

Celebrezze Jr., a Democrat, lost in the 1990 governor's race to Republican George Voinovich, now a U.S. senator. He then left politics and worked as a lawyer with Kegler, Brown, Hill & Ritter in Columbus.

David Leland, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party from 1995 to 2002, said he tried to persuade Celebrezze to return to politics on the statewide ticket in 1998 and 2002.

"I was always interested in getting him back into public life," Leland said Saturday. "He was universally respected and loved in the Democratic Party. There was no stronger advocate of good government than Tony Celebrezze."

A funeral Mass will be held Wednesday at St. John Cathedral in downtown Cleveland. Celebrezze is survived by his wife, Louisa, and five children.

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