E. Lloyd Meeds, 77; U.S. House Democrat

Friday, August 19, 2005

E. Lloyd Meeds, 77, a Washington state Democrat who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1965 to 1979 and was a partner at the law and lobbying firm Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds LLP, died Aug. 17 at his home in Church Creek, Md. He had lung cancer.

Meeds's congressional district included far northwestern Washington. He served on the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee as well as the Labor and Education Committee.

He helped craft legislation that created a national park in his state and had a hand in passing other environmental bills.

He entered a politically dangerous battle between commercial fishermen and Native Americans. The Indians had argued successfully in federal court for recognition of a treaty that gave them half of the salmon catch in major state waterways. He expressed great sympathy for the tribes, which led to his near defeat for reelection in 1976, according to the Almanac of American Politics.

He was not a candidate for reelection in 1978. He then joined Preston Gates Ellis, a Seattle-based firm, and moved to its office in the District soon after.

His work focused on education and natural resources. His clients included the state of Alaska and a bevy of corporate clients, from the timber industry to software companies. At his death, he was a counsel to the firm.

Edwin Lloyd Meeds was born in Dillon, Mont., and raised in Monroe, Wash. After brief Navy service, he graduated from Everett (Wash.) Junior College in 1950, became an owner and operator of a gas station and graduated in 1958 from Gonzaga University's law school.

He was prosecuting attorney of Snohomish County, Wash., before winning election to Congress in 1964.

His marriage to Barbara Meeds ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife of 38 years, Mary Yang Meeds of Church Creek; two children from his first marriage, Michael Meeds and Michelle Meeds, both of Monroe; a daughter from his second marriage, Deborah Kendall of Washington; a brother; and eight grandchildren.

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