James Edward Van Zandt was born at Altoona, Pa. in 1898. He attended the Pennsylvania Railroad Apprentice School. Van Zandt achieved a distinguished military career. He served in the Navy during WWI, was a member of the Naval Reserve (1919-1943), served in the Pacific and North Atlantic during WW II, and retired in 1959 as a rear admiral in the naval reserve. He served as a Republican Congressman from 1939 to 1943 and again from 1947 to 1963 having succeeded David Brumbaugh. In 1962, he was defeated in a U.S. Senate bid. Van Zandt died at Arlington, Va. in 1986. He is buried in the Arlington National Cemetery (Section 30). His wife, Esther L. Meisenhoelder Van Zandt (29 March 1907-23 March 1992) is buried with him.
Courtesy of the U. S. House of Representatives:
Representative from Pennsylvania; born in Altoona, Blair County, Pa., December 18, 1898; attended the public schools and the Pennsylvania Railroad Apprentice School, Altoona, Pa.; served in various departments until 1938, when he became district passenger agent; during the First World War enlisted as an apprentice seaman in the United States Navy on April 30, 1917, and served two years overseas; member of the United States Naval Reserve 1919-1943 with rank of lieutenant; national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars 1934-1936; elected as a Republican to the Seventy-sixth, Seventy-seventh, and Seventy-eighth Congresses and served from January 3, 1939, until his resignation September 24, 1943; while a Member of Congress was called to active duty in September 1941 and served until January 1942 with the Pacific Fleet and in escort convoy duty in the North Atlantic; reentered the service in September 1943 as a lieutenant commander and was assigned to the Pacific area until discharged as a captain, January 25, 1946, and retired as rear admiral, United States Naval Reserve, January 1, 1959; elected to the Eightieth and to the seven succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1947-January 3, 1963); was not a candidate for renomination in 1962 to the Eighty-eighth Congress, but was an unsuccessful candidate for United States Senator; special representative of the governor of Pennsylvania until 1971; resided in Arlington, Va., where he died January 6, 1986; interment in Arlington National Cemetery.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard