Floyd Fithian, 76, a former congressman, farmer and Purdue University history teacher, died Friday 27 at a retirement home in Annandale, Va., of unspecified causes.
A native of Vesta, Neb., Fithian was educated at Peru State College in his home state and the University of Nebraska and served as a lieutenant in the Navy. He taught at Nebraska Wesleyan College before moving to Lafayette, Ind., to teach at Purdue and farm.
Fiscally conservative, Fithian defeated Republican Earl Landgrebe in 1974, becoming the first Democrat to represent his Lafayette congressional district in 40 years.
He was also the first Democrat to win reelection in that district, and served a total of four terms, from 1975 to 1983.
After his district was eliminated by reapportionment, he unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) for his Senate seat.
Fithian never again sought political office but remained active on Capitol Hill, serving as chief of staff for then-Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.), until 1992.
He later worked for the Farm Credit Administration.