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The Rev. Edward L.R. Elson; Former Senate Chaplain

August 28, 1993

The Rev. Edward L.R. Elson, 86, chaplain of the U.S. Senate from 1969 to 1981 and the minister who in 1953 baptized President Dwight D. Eisenhower into the National Presbyterian Church, believed to be the only time in U.S. history a President was baptized while in office. Elson confirmed Eisenhower shortly after the President took office; for the remainder of his presidency, Eisenhower attended Elson's National Presbyterian Church. Elson became pastor of National Presbyterian in 1946 after serving in World War II as an Army chaplain, retiring from the pastorate in 1973 while keeping his Senate position. Eisenhower often used Elson as a personal emissary, particularly to the Middle East, where Elson joined Dorothy Thompson, Henry Emerson Fosdick and former and current envoys to form the American Friends of the Middle East, of which Elson was chairman and vice president for 23 years. He was born in Monongahela, Pa., and graduated from Asbury College in Kentucky and USC. Before going to Washington he served churches in Santa Monica and La Jolla. In Washington on Wednesday of congestive heart failure.

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