California Congressman Walter Capps Dies After Being Striken by an Apparent Heart Attack at Dulles Airport in Washington

Capps, 63, of Santa Barbara, Calif., was en route back to Washington as the House prepared to vote on a defense authorization bill and other issues Tuesday afternoon. Word spread quickly among his colleagues and two, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that he had died.

He was taken to Columbia Reston Hospital. Capps was accompanied by his wife, Lois Grimsrud.

Capps was elected in 1996.

Capps narrowly won election last November from California's 22nd House district, a seat that had been held by Republicans since World War II.

Until then, he had been a professor of religious studies at the University of California in Santa Barbara for more than 30 years. He wrote 14 books and was a nationally recognized leader on the issues of American democracy, and peace and conflict studies.

Capps developed a college course dealing with the Vietnam War and Vietnam veteran Sen. Bob Kerrey, D-Neb., had been a featured lecturer for the class.

It was Kerrey who encouraged Capps, a native of Nebraska, to make another run for the House after he lost to former Republican Rep. Andrea Seastrand by 1,600 votes in 1994.

The oldest of four brothers, Capps was raised in Omaha, graduated from Portland State University in Oregon and received a masters and doctors degree from Yale. He also earned a master of sacred theology from Yale Divinity School.

He and his wife have three grown children and one grandchild.