Robert G. Stephens Jr., 89, A Georgia Democrat who served in the House of Representatives from 1961 to 1977, died Feb. 20 in a hospital in Athens, Ga. The cause of death was not reported.
In the House, he served on the Interior and Insular Affairs and the Banking and Currency committees.
On the Banking Committee, the conservative Democrat was viewed as a spokesman for banking and real estate interests.
In October 1972, he helped kill an effort by committee Chairman Wright Patman (D-Tex.) to have the committee investigate the Watergate break-in and related scandals that were being linked to the Nixon White House. Patman, who wanted to have his investigation before the November presidential election, saw his plans voted down by committee Republicans who were joined by southern Democrats including Mr. Stephens.
Mr. Stephens, who lived in Athens, was a Georgia native and a great-great-nephew of Alexander Hamilton Stephens, who also had been a Georgia congressman and went on to serve as the vice president of the Confederacy.
Robert Grier Stephens Jr. was a 1935 graduate of the University of Georgia, received a master's degree there in 1937 and graduated from the university's law school in 1941. He taught history at the university from 1936 to 1940.
He served with the Army in Europe during World War II and retired from active duty in 1946 as a lieutenant colonel.
After the war, he helped prosecute Nazi war criminals in Nuremberg.
Mr. Stephens practiced law in Athens after the war and served as city attorney from 1947 to 1950.
He served in the state Senate from 1951 to 1953 and in the state House from 1953 to 1959. He was elected to Congress in 1960 and did not seek reelection in 1976.
Survivors include his wife, Grace, of Athens; two sons; and two daughters.