HUNTSVLLE, Ala. — Former U.S. Sen. John J. Sparkman, who served 42 years in Congress and was Adlai Stevenson's running mate on the Democratic party's 1952 presidential ticket, died Saturday. He was 85.
Sparkman died at a nursing home after apparently suffering a heart attack, a family spokesman said.
Sparkman, an attorney, was elected to the House of Representatives in 1936. In 1946, he was elected to the Senate to fill a seat vacated by the death of Sen. John H. Bankhead. Sparkman was also reelected to the House, the first such double victory on record. He resigned from the House to serve in the Senate.
A husky, homespun man who neither smoked nor drank, Sparkman was elected to his first full term in the Senate in 1948 and was reelected to four terms. He was chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs from 1967 through 1974 and later was named chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.
He was born Dec. 20, 1899, in Hartselle, in northern Alabama, seventh of 11 children who grew up in a four-room log house on a tenant farm. He studied by the light of a kerosene lamp, began his education in a one-room school and walked four miles each way to high school.