Ex-FDIC Chairman Sprague Dies at 82

Posted February 20, 2004 at 3:06pm

Longtime Capitol Hill staffer Irvine H. Sprague, 82, died Feb. 17. Sprague had served as chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for nearly 12 years, was a White House special assistant to President Lyndon Johnson, and served as chief of staff in the House Speaker and Whip offices.

Sprague was born July 4, 1921, in San Francisco. He graduated in 1947 with degrees in economics and English from the College of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif.

He moved to Washington in 1957 to take a position as an aide to former Rep. John McFall (D-Calif), and later worked as chief of staff for McFall’s Whip office. From 1969 to 1972 he was director of the FDIC. President Jimmy Carter then reappointed him to the FDIC. Sprague retired from the FDIC in 1986 as the only person ever to be appointed to the FDIC by two presidents.

Sprague was also a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel. He received the Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars for his heroism as an infantry rifle platoon leader in the Philippines during World War II. After the war, he was a member of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s staff in Tokyo.

Sprague is survived by his wife of 63 years, Margery Craw Sprague, daughter Kristine Ann Woods, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Sprague will be buried with full honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

Donations in the memory of Sprague can be made to the Claire Sprague Fund at the St. Vincent de Paul Homeless Shelter, 3350 E St., San Diego, CA 92102; the St. Mary’s Interfaith Dining Room, P.O. Box 133, Stockton, CA 95201; or the Salvation Army.

— Lauren Legard