A Representative from Pennsylvania; born in Philadelphia, Pa., May 29, 1943; attended public schools in Springfield, Pa.; B.A., Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pa., 1965; Master of Divinity, Drew University Theological School, Madison, N.J., 1968; certificate in pastoral psychiatry, Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital, Philadelphia, Pa., 1969; ordained a United Methodist minister, 1968; served as United Protestant Chaplain of Drexel University in Philadelphia, 1971-1974; elected as a Democrat to the Ninety-fourth and to the five succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1975-January 3, 1987); was not a candidate for reelection in 1986, but was an unsuccessful candidate for the United States Senate; special assistant to Rep. William H. Gray, III, 1988; is a resident of Annandale, Va.
After losing his Senate race, Mr. Edgar worked briefly helping political campaigns, teaching and working on arms control issues with a research group. In 1990, he began a 10-year tenure as president of the Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, Calif. He quintupled the college’s endowment to $22 million, increased minority enrollment by 40 percent and made Claremont a pre-eminent United Methodist seminary.
In 2000, he was named general secretary of the National Council of Churches, which consists of more than 100,000 local congregations and some 45 million congregants. Mr. Edgar became president and chief executive of Common Cause in 2007.
Mr. Edgar is survived by his wife of 48 years, the former Merle Louise Deaver; his sons, Robert, T. David and Andrew; his mother, Marion Edgar; his brothers, Ralph and Richard; and eight grandchildren.