(b. Bethesda, Maryland, Boise, Idaho, 25 July 1924; d. 7 Apr. 1984)
US; US Senator 1957–81 The son of a merchant, Church attended local schools in Boise. During the Second World War he enlisted as a private in the US army and was commissioned in 1944, seeing active service in the Far East. Graduating from Stanford University in 1947, he undertook a year's study at Harvard before returning to Stanford Law School, from which he graduated LLB in 1950. That same year he was called to the bar and began practising law in Boise. His career in national politics began six years later when, in 1956, he was elected Democratic Senator for Idaho.
Church was an active member of the prestigious Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was an outspoken critic of Johnson's Vietnam policy and chaired a select committee (1975–6) which investigated the operations of the CIA and FBI and made numerous recommendations for curbing their activities. Between 1979 and 1981 he served as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.
In 1976 Church made an unsuccessful bid to gain nomination as his party's presidential candidate. Despite early primary successes in the western states, he withdrew in the face of the growing momentum behind Carter's candidacy.
Church was a man of liberal views. He was an eloquent speaker who was popular with fellow senators. In 1980 he returned to the law after failing to retain his Senate seat.