Charles McCurdy Mathias, Jr. (R.-Md) was born in Frederick, MD, July 24, 1922. He entered Haverford College in 1940 but left to enlist in the United States Coast Guard on December 7, 1942. He was assigned to the V-12 unit at Yale University, transferred to the U.S. Navy, and completed his undergraduate requirements while at Yale. At Columbia University, he attended Midshipmen's School and was commissioned an ensign in the Navy. He served in the South Pacific during World War II.
Mathias graduated from the University of MD Law School in 1949 and served as Assistant Attorney General of Maryland (1953-1954) and City Attorney of Frederick (1954-1959). In 1958, he was elected to the General Assembly of Maryland as a delegate from Frederick County. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1960 and reelected three times. In 1968, he ran successfully for the U.S. Senate where he remained until his retirement from a third term in 1987. Mathias was regarded as a moderate Republican whose years in Congress coincided with the terms of five different presidents: Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, and Reagan.
Mathias's career in the Senate included membership on several important committees. He was chairman, Special Committee on Termination of the National Emergency (92nd-94th Congresses), co-chairman, Joint Committee on Printing (97th and 99th Congresses), chairman, Committee on Rules and Administration (97th -99th Congresses). As chairman of the rules Committee, Senator Mathias oversaw the Senate's internal administration and operating procedures and was able to approve the budgets of the various committees. As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Mathias played a central role in congressional efforts to control the spread of nuclear weapons. He was a leading advocate of arms control legislation and was a congressional adviser to the SALT II delegation and an observer at the START talks in Geneva. In October, 1985 he was elected president of the North Atlantic Assembly, an agency composed of member of legislative bodies of the NATO countries. On national issues, Mathias was a strong advocate of civil rights legislation and government support of the elderly and the handicapped. He was an original sponsor of the Voting Rights Acts of 1965 and 1982, and he introduced the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Closer to home, Mathias kept in touch with issues affecting the state. He helped to secure federal funds for Maryland projects such as the clean up of the Chesapeake Bay, the revitalization of the city of Baltimore, and the expansion of the state's transportation system.
Charles Mathias died on January 25, 2010.