Former Rep. Towell Dies

Posted June 17, 2003 at 1:23pm

Former Nevada Rep. David Gilmer Towell (R), who served one term as the state’s only Member in the House, died June 10 in Reno. Towell, who had recently turned 66, had been fighting cancer for two years.

The Bronxville, N.Y., native served in the Nevada Air National Guard after graduating in 1960 from the College of Pacific.

He was elected to Congress in 1972 after the Democratic incumbent of 10 years, former Rep. Walter Baring, lost the primary to attorney James Bilbray. With Baring’s support, Towell won his first run for public office.

While Towell had remained unknown on a national level, he had been active in local politics. He was chairman of the Douglas County Republican Central Committee in 1970, and four years earlier he had founded the Douglas County Young Republicans.

After two years in office, the former real estate broker lost his re-election bid to former Rep. James Santini (D). Two years later he unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Howard Cannon (D).

Towell returned to the real estate business in Carson Valley, Nev., and in recent years authored two fiction books. “Conversations with the Captain in Washington D.C.” follows the adventures of a talking cat, Captain Midnight, who aspires to become a weather reporter. The second book, “From Jennys to Jets,” is a fictitious account of a real-life aviator Bill Rand.

Towell is survived by his brother, S. Gilmer Towell of Short Hills, N.J.; his sister, Cynthia Shiveley of Bronxville, N.Y.; and his sons, David Towell Jr. and Mark Towell, both of Reno.