Former Republican Rep. Dan Schaefer, 70, who represented Colorado in Congress for 14 years until retiring in 1998, died of cancer Sunday in Wheat Ridge, Colo.
Schaefer won a special election in 1983 to fill a vacancy caused by the death of congressman-elect John Swigert, an Apollo 13 astronaut.
Schaefer served on the House Commerce Committee and was the senior member of the state’s delegation when he retired. His legacy includes helping secure money for Colorado’s Highway C-470 and fighting for cleanup of the former nuclear weapons site at Rocky Flats.
A former public relations consultant and teacher who once played minor league baseball, Schaefer was elected to Colorado’s House of Representatives in 1977 and served in the state Senate from 1979 to 1983.
Born in Gutenberg, Iowa, in 1936, Schaefer served two years in the Marine Corps in the 1950s. He received a bachelor’s degree in 1961 from Niagara University in Niagara Falls, N.Y., did post-graduate work at the State University of New York at Potsdam and earned a law degree from Niagara University in 1986.