Former Falls Church City Councilman David Minton, who served on the Council from 1990-1994 and was known for his robust sense of humor, died at age 77 on July 17 in his home town of Denton, Texas, following a long illness. He suffered from Alzhimer’s disease.
Minton was a postal expert who served as staff director and chief counsel of the Senate Post Office and Civil Service Committee when Congress approved the Post Reorganization Act of 1970, which created the U.S. Postal Service out of the Post Office Department. He later served in the same position in the House of Representatives. Overall his career on the Hill ran from 1962 to 1981.
Minton was executive director of the congressionally-chartered Commission on Postal Service, which proposed reforms in 1977. After leaving Congress, Minton practiced law in D.C., representing the Magazine Publishers of American until his retirement in 1994.
A resident of Ridge Place in the City of Falls Church, he was elected to the Council in 1990, serving one four-year term. He was part of a slate endorsed by the Citizens for a Better City that swept the 1990 election to temporarily regain control of the Council that it had lost to its rival, the Falls Church Citizens Organization, in 1988. Its control was lost, however, when one CBC endorsee, Dale Dover, switched allegiances to align with the FCCO and was elected mayor by a 4-3 vote.
Milton was recalled by colleagues for his keen intelligence and sharp sense of humor, and for his important role in the process of regaining control of the Council on behalf of CBC-backed candidates. Upon his retirement and end of his term on the City Council, he moved back to the house his family built during his childhood in Denton.
Eli Davidson Minton was born in Dallas, Texas on Nov. 24, 1934. He earned a Bachelor’s degree at North Texas State College and taught in public schools in El Paso. After graduate study at the University of North Carolina, he finished law school at the University of Texas in 1962.
Inspired, he said, by President Kennedy’s call to public service, he moved to Washington and was hired by Sen. Ralph Yarborough (D-Tex.). Yarborough, who served in the U.S. Senate from 1957 to 1971, was a leader of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party in Texas, and was a close ally of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Considered among the last of the New Deal Democrats, he helped pass Johnson’s Great Society legislation. Among his proteges were famed fellow Democrats Ann Richards and Jim Hightower.
As a Yarborough protege himself, Minton was involved in local and national Democratic politics from his childhood through his years on Capital Hill. In 1956 he married Doris Woodruff with whom he had four children.
The marriage ended in divorce. A second marriage to Patricia Denton also ended in divorce. With his third wife of 32 years, Phyllis Pearson Minton, he traveled abroad frequently and spent many years restoring the family home. A pianist, he loved Romantic compositions, often performing the works of his favorite, Rachmaninoff.
In addition to his wife, survivors include brother Roy Q. Minton and sister-in-law Barbara Francis Minton of Austin, sister-in-law Linda Pearson Baker of Yuba City, Calif., children Bennett Minton of Arlington, Va., Irene Minton Pham of Santa Ana, Calif., and Roy and Michael Minton of Austin and nine grandchildren.