Mervyn Dymally, former congressman, state legislator, and lieutenant governor of California, died on October 7 in Los Angeles. He was 86 years old. In his later years, he served as the director of the Urban Health Institute at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles. The nursing school at the medical school is named in his honor.
Dr. Dymally was a native of Trinidad. He came to the United States at the age of 19 to attend college at what was then Los Angeles State College. After graduating from college, he taught for six years in the Los Angeles public schools before embarking on a career in politics. He was elected to the California State Assembly in 1962 and the state Senate in 1966. He was elected lieutenant governor in 1974 but lost in a bid for reelection in 1978. Two years later, he was elected to Congress where he served for six terms. In the House of Representatives, he served as chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Congressional Black Causes. In 2002 he was reelected to his old seat in the state assembly and served two terms.
Dr. Dymally held a master’s degree from Sacramento State University and a doctorate in human behavior from what is now Alliant International University in San Diego.