John A. Briscoe, aide to Pa. congressman and nonprofit director, dies at 76

January 17

John A. Briscoe, who was an aide to U.S. Rep. Bob Edgar (D-Pa.) during his tenure in the House and who later held prominent posts in nonprofit organizations led by the former congressman, died Dec. 8 at his home in Lakeville, Conn. He was 76.

The cause was complications from a stroke and congestive heart failure, said his wife, Kate Williams.

Mr. Briscoe was chief of staff to Edgar from 1976 to 1986. He later worked for the Pennsylvania state government and helped launch PennSERVE, a community service initiative.

In 2000, Mr. Briscoe moved into the nonprofit sector in Washington, serving as director of development at the National Council of Churches and at Common Cause, the nonpartisan public interest organization, when Edgar led those organizations. Edgar died in 2013.

John Alexander Holway Briscoe was born in Cambridge, Mass., and grew up on a dairy farm in Lakeville. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., in 1959 and a master’s degree in Middle Eastern studies from Harvard University in 1961.

In the 1960s, he served in the Peace Corps in India and taught English in Kenya. In the early years of his career, he was an assistant to the president of Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania.

His first marriage, to Virginia Wolf, ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife of 27 years, Kate Williams of Lakeville; two children from his first marriage, Mark Briscoe of Santa Cruz, Calif., and Alexander Briscoe of San Francisco; two children from his second marriage, Martha Emily Briscoe of San Francisco and Christian Strine of Lakeville; a brother; and four grandchildren.

— Martin Weil

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