Ralph Vinovich, Former Chief of Staff, Dies at 80

Posted January 23, 2009 at 3:19pm

Updated: Jan. 26, 3:35 p.m.

Ralph Vinovich, a longtime senior Congressional staffer, died Jan. 15 from complications associated with lymphoma. He was 80. [IMGCAP(1)]

Vinovich served as chief of staff to Rep. Robert Michel (R-Ill.) for 16 years, beginning in 1967. He was Michel’s top staffer during his tenure as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee in 1973, as Minority Whip in 1975 and as Minority Leader in 1981.

Vinovich first came to Capitol Hill in 1955 as a legislative aide to Sen. Everett Dirksen (R-Ill.).

He retired from public service in 1983 to join the Tobacco Institute as vice president of legislative affairs.

Vinovich was born June 23, 1928, in Peoria, Ill., as the youngest son of Ralph and Martha Vinovich. He served in the Navy and graduated from American University in 1967.

He also served on the board of directors of the Capitol Hill Club, and was a member of Republicans Associated for Mutual Support, the House Chief of Staff Alumni Association and the Burning Tree Golf Club.

The former Congressional aide is survived by his wife, Mary, two sons, Sam and Paul, and sister Dorothy. Paul Vinovich is the new minority chief counsel for the Senate Rules and Administration Committee.

Funeral services were held Jan. 24 in Cheverly, Md.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, National Capital Area Chapter, 5845 Richmond Highway, Suite 800, Alexandria, VA 22303.