When Congress returns from its recess, one of the fixtures of the institution won't be there. John Monohan doesn't have to come back from Cape Cod.

Monohan came to Capitol Hill from South Boston more than two decades back when the late Rep. John W. McCormack (D-What Else?) represented the district. When automation came to the House voting system, Monohan stayed on to run it.

"He Monohan is as much a member of this institution as any of us," said Rep. Peter Kostmayer (D-Pa.) at an hour-long tribute before the veteran employe's retirement and the summer recess.

Rep. William H. Natcher (D-Ky.), who never could be faulted for inattention to House activities, praised Monohan for somehow keeping errant House members attentive to the business at hand.

According to an account before the recess in Roll Call, the Capitol Hill weekly newspaper, Rep. Joe Moakley (D-Mass.) recounted when Monohan was jogging in a Harvard sweatshirt on the Rock Creek Park path.

A limousine pulled over, Moakley said, and the backseat occupant lowered the window to inquire the year of Monohan's graduation.

"Oh," replied Monohan, a Boston College graduate, "I didn't go. I bought this at a yard sale for 15 cents."