Sprague, Irvine H(enry, Jr.) 1921-2004

views updated

SPRAGUE, Irvine H(enry, Jr.) 1921-2004


See index for CA sketch: Born July 4, 1921, in San Francisco, CA; died of cancer February 17, 2004, in Arlington, VA. Administrator, journalist, and author. Sprague, who served in a variety of governmental posts during his career, was best remembered for serving twice as the director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Graduating from Stockton College with an A.A. in 1941, he enlisted in the U.S. military and served in the Pacific theater, receiving two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart as a platoon leader in the Philippines, and also worked on General Douglas MacArthur's staff in Japan after the war. He returned home to complete a bachelor's degree at the University of the Pacific in 1947. In 1957, he attended law school briefly at George Washington University, and graduated from an advanced management program at Harvard University in 1972. Sprague's career began in journalism; he was a reporter for the Stockton Record in California until 1956. He then began his involvement in politics by working as an administrative assistant to Congressman John J. McFall for five years. His experience in finance began with a post as deputy director of finance for California from 1963 to 1966. The next year, he served as an assistant to President Lyndon Johnson, who made Sprague the director of the FDIC in 1969. After leaving this office in 1972, he continued to work in Washington, D.C., first as an administrative assistant to the majority House whip "Tip" O'Neill and then as executive director of the Steering and Policy Committee. President Jimmy Carter once again returned Sprague to the FDIC, making him chair from 1979 to 1981; afterwards, he continued working for the FDIC as member of the board until 1985. Having served as head of the FDIC longer than anyone else, Sprague led the bank insurer and regulator during some of its toughest years, including a period when 374 banks failed. He wrote about these experiences in his book, Bailout: An Insider's Account of Bank Failures and Rescues (1986).



Los Angeles Times, February 21, 2004, p. B21.

New York Times, February 21, 2004, p. A13.

Washington Post, February 20, 2004, p. B7.