Lawrence J. Hogan Sr., the father of Maryland's governor who earned a reputation as a tough and independent-minded politician during three terms in the House of Representatives and one term as Prince George's County executive, died Thursday at Anne Arundel Medical Center of complications from a stroke. He was 88.
Gov. Larry Hogan announced the news on his Facebook page Thursday night.
"At 10:24 tonight, an American hero, and the man that I am most proud of, passed away. He had an amazing life that spanned 88 years," Hogan wrote. "He leaves behind a loving family, countless friends and admirers, and a lasting legacy that won't be forgotten."
In 1974, Mr. Hogan was the first Republican on the House Judiciary Committee to openly advocate for the impeachment of President Richard M. Nixon, a fellow Republican he had previously supported.
"I doesn't make any difference whether [Nixon] got in at the beginning or the middle or the end. He was a conspirator," Mr. Hogan said in a Sun article just weeks before the president left office.
Years later, his son recalled his father's stance during his inauguration as governor. "I probably learned more about integrity in one day when my dad read that vote than most people learn in a lifetime," Mr. Hogan said.
Born in Boston and raised in Washington, D.C., Lawrence J. Hogan Sr., the son of a printer — and a Democrat — was a 1946 graduate of Gonzaga High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in history and philosophy from Georgetown University and was a 1954 graduate of its law school. As a college student, he worked for the old Washington Times-Herald.
In 1948, while a still a student, he joined the FBI and became a special agent.
In 1965, he earned a master's degree in public relations from American University. He worked at a public relations and advertising firm he founded and served as an official of the District Associated Builders and Contractors. He also taught courses at the University of Maryland School of Journalism.
A conservative Republican who opposed both abortion and busing to achieve racial integration in schools, he ran unsuccessfully for a House of Representatives seat in 1966 in heavily Democratic Prince George's County.
By 1968, he ran again and won on a platform of supporting "the forgotten man," a voter he described as "the hardworking, taxpaying, law-abiding citizen who goes on year after year financially supporting his government and is generally ignored."
He won re-election twice.
"Larry was a vote-getter and a popular candidate," said former state Sen. Julian L. Lapides. "He crossed over party lines and appealed to both Democrats and Republicans, something both he and his son have in common."
Tim Maloney, a former Prince George's County lawmaker who knew Mr. Hogan from grade school, said he was independent politically and a smart politician.
"Much like his son, he ran races that nobody thought he would win," Mr. Maloney said.
Mr. Hogan later recalled the political fallout he encountered after voting for President Nixon's impeachment.
"I lost a lot of friends, supporters and contributions," he said in a 2015 interview on WYPR radio. "Many Republicans were very unforgiving at that time."
The month after President Nixon resigned from office, Mr. Hogan suffered a political defeat in the Republican gubernatorial primary, losing to Louise Gore. She in turn was defeated in the general election by incumbent Democratic Gov. Marvin Mandel.
Mr. Hogan later said his position on President Nixon cost him that Republican primary.
Mr. Hogan remained active in politics on his home turf. He was elected Prince George's County executive in 1978 and served until Dec. 19, 1982. He kept a pledge to keep taxes down but was also accused of shortchanging county schools. Ever combative, he also took on public service employees.
"Maryland needs a more aggressive and more faithful U.S. senator," Mr. Hogan said during the campaign. "And, heaven help me, if nothing else, I am aggressive." He went on to describe himself as a "taskmaster" who would take tough stands, "even if they are unpopular."
A 1982 Washington Post profile noted the candidate's "visceral reactions and his penchant for controversy."
In the Senate election, Mr. Hogan tallied 407,334 votes against Mr. Sarbanes, who took 707,356. By this time, he was losing support in heavily Democratic Prince George's County, which he lost by more than 52,000 votes. His critics faulted his aggressive tone and lack of money for television advertising. The defeat ended his career in elected office, and he remarked in a newspaper article the next day that he was relieved.
Mr. Hogan reflected on his decision to run for the Senate in 2015 during the WYPR interview.
"I regretted running. I shouldn't have," he said. "Egos are a driving force for politicians."
In 1998 Mr. Hogan published a work about murders associated with members of the Osage tribe who had grown wealthy in the 1920s with the discovery of oil on their lands. He recalled that he initially became familiar with the case when he was a young FBI agent and the agency's director, J. Edgar Hoover, assigned him to research the incident for a film then under consideration.
The movie was never made, but Mr. Hogan retained his interest and kept his notes.
"The cruel and monumental injustices done to the Osages cry out for exposure," he wrote.
During the 2016 election, Governor Hogan wrote in his father's name on his ballot rather than cast a vote for fellow Republican President Donald J. Trump.
Plans for services have not been announced.
In 1974, he married Ilona Maria Modley.
Survivors include four other sons, Matthew Hogan of Costa Rica, Michael Hogan of Oregon, former Del. Patrick Hogan of Frederick and Timothy Hogan of Annapolis; a brother, Dr. William Hogan of Ashburn, Va.; two sisters, Mary O'Connell of Wheaton and Audrey Love of Alexandria, Va.; 11 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren. A daughter, Mary Theresa Lazarus, died in March 2016. His first marriage ended in divorce.
Baltimore Sun reporters Carrie Wells and Erin Cox contributed to this article.