The break-in and the links between the suspects and President Richard M. Nixon’s reelection committee touched off the Watergate scandal, which became a landmark in modern American political history and led to Nixon’s resignation in 1974.
As his family recalled it, and as recounted in the Sioux City (Iowa) Journal, Mr. Greigg’s first question that morning on being told of the break-in was on the order of, “Did you catch the kids?”
And, according to those accounts, Mr. Greigg became one of the first people in Washington to glimpse the true dimensions of the break-in when he heard the police officer on the other end of the line say, “No, sir, these men we arrested were in business suits.”
Mr. Greigg, who had been a member of Congress and a college dean, was vice president of the metropolitan Washington synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and was a past finance chairman of Grace Lutheran Church in Washington. He was in Salem for the annual assembly of the synod at Roanoke College.
He collapsed on his way to a worship service and died less than an hour later at a hospital in Salem. Family members said from his home in Bethesda that they believed the cause was a heart attack.
After being notified of the break-in, according to his eldest daughter, Valerie Greigg Dugan, Mr. Greigg “signed all the arrest reports and the complaints.”
In subsequent days, he kept posted on the development of the investigation, she said. He “followed it through to the very end” and spent a good deal of time with reporters who were pursuing the matter, she said.
In later years, his daughter said, Mr. Greigg spoke about the break-in during talks at schools.
“He actually took that to a lot of my high school history classes, college history classes,” she said.
In October 1999, the Sioux City Journal reported on his talk to a history class at a community college there in which he recalled making two reports to his superior, DNC Chairman Lawrence F. O’Brien, in the aftermath of the arrests.
The first was immediately after he had learned of the break-in. The next was after Mr. Greigg had been more thoroughly informed.
“I told him all hell had broken loose,” Mr. Greigg told the students.
Mr. Greigg was born in Ireton, Iowa. He grew up in Sioux City, graduating from Morningside College there. He received a master’s degree from the Maxwell Graduate School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, then served in the Navy before returning to Sioux City, where he was became dean of men at Morningside.
He was mayor of Sioux City before being elected to the 89th Congress in 1964. After being defeated for reelection, he worked for the Post Office Department under O’Brien, who brought him to the DNC.
He joined the Congressional Budget Office in 1975 and retired in 1998 as director of the office of intergovernmental relations.
In his 1999 talk in Sioux City, Mr. Greigg urged the Iowa students to vote and to get involved in politics. This advice conformed with the view that family members said he took of the Watergate affair.
“He felt it was a sad time for American politics,” his daughter said. “He thought it should never have happened.”
Survivors include his wife, Cathryn, of Bethesda; three daughters, Valerie Dugan of Gaithersburg, Heather Greigg of Bethesda and Cathryn Greigg Murphy of Silver Spring; and a granddaughter.