Nick Begich

Nick Begich
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alaska's At-large district
In office
January 3, 1971 – October 16, 1972
Preceded by Howard Pollock
Succeeded by Don Young
Member of the Alaska State Senate
In office
Personal details
Born April 6, 1932(1932-04-06)
Eveleth, Minnesota
Died Presumably October 16, 1972(1972-10-16) (aged 40)
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Pegge Begich
Children Mark, Nichelle, Stephanie, Tom, Paul, and Nick
Alma mater Saint Cloud State University, University of Minnesota, University of Colorado, University of North Dakota

Nicholas Joseph "Nick" Begich, Sr. (April 6, 1932 – undetermined, presumed dead October 16, 1972) was a Democratic Party member of the United States House of Representatives from Alaska. He disappeared in a plane crash in Alaska in 1972. His son Mark Begich is currently the junior U.S. Senator from Alaska.


Early life and education

The son of a Croatian immigrant, Nick Begich was born and raised in Eveleth, Minnesota. His father, John Begich (Begić), was born in Podlapača, Croatia.[1] He attended Saint Cloud State University and the University of Minnesota before pursuing his doctorate at the University of Colorado and the University of North Dakota.


Begich worked as an expeditor and then a counselor in Anchorage, Alaska. He later worked in the administrative offices of Anchorage School District, eventually becoming Superintendent of Schools at Fort Richardson. In 1962, Begich was elected to the Alaska Senate, where he served for eight years. Begich also taught political science during parts of this period at the University of Alaska at Anchorage.

In 1970, Begich was elected to Alaska's only seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, defeating the Republican banker Frank Murkowski – who later served as a U.S. Senator and then the Governor of Alaska. In 1972 for his re-election, Begich was opposed by the Republican state senator Don Young.

Posthumously, Begich won the 1972 election with 56% to Don Young's 44%. However, after Begich's declared death, a special election was held and Mr. Young won this seat and still serves in this position as of 2011.


On October 16, 1972, he was aboard a twin engine Cessna 310 along with House Majority Leader Hale Boggs of Louisiana when the plane disappeared during a flight from Anchorage to Juneau. Also on board were Begich's aide, Russell Brown; and the pilot, Don Jonz.[2] The four were heading to a campaign fundraiser for Begich.

In an enormous search effort, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Air Force search and rescue planes looked for the four men and their airplane. On November 24, 1972, after proceeding for thirty-nine days, the air search was called off. Neither the wreckage of the plane nor the pilot's or passengers' remains have ever been found. All were declared dead on December 29, 1972. The accident prompted Congress to pass a law mandating emergency locator transmitters in all United States civil aircraft.

Election history

Alaska's At-large congressional district: Results 1968–1972[3]
Year Republican Votes Pct Democrat Votes Pct
1968 Howard W. Pollock (inc.) 43,577 54.2% N. J. Begich 36,785 45.8%
1970 Frank H. Murkowski 35,947 44.9% N. J. Begich 44,137 55.1%
1972 Don Young 41,750 43.8% N. J. Begich (inc.) 53,651 56.2%

Personal life

Nick Begich had six children, named Mark, Nichelle, Tom, Stephanie, Paul, and Nick. His son Mark Begich is currently the junior U.S. Senator from Alaska. He won this position after defeating the Republican Party's longest serving Senator, Ted Stevens, who was killed in a plane crash nearly two years later.

Nick Begich's widow, Pegge Begich, ran for the House of Representatives seat in 1984 and 1986, but she was defeated by the incumbent, Mr. Young. She is retired now, and she resides in Nevada. Their eldest son, Nick Begich, Jr., is well known in Alaska for his own political activities. He has been twice elected as the president of both the Alaska Federation of Teachers and the Anchorage Council of Education. Nick Begich, Jr.'s current research focuses on the methods, actions, and ethics of various American governmental organizations. He has gained much popularity amongst conspiracy theorists, thanks to his tireless investigation of H.A.A.R.P. He authored the conspiracy theory book Angels Don't Play this H.A.A.R.P. and appeared on the TV show Conspiracy Theory. [4]


  1. ^ Begich, Tom. (2006-04-30). "Tom Begich: Politics first – Part of growing up in a political family with a man who was a workaholic was I didn't know my father." Interviewed by Judy Ferguson. Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved on 2007-04-04. Tom Begich says of his father, "Until I was nearly 12, I grew up with a man who was a legend, the son of Croatian immigrants, but who disappeared Oct. 16, 1972, into the clouds."
  2. ^ "Hale Boggs — Missing in Alaska". Famous Missing Aircraft. Check-Six. Retrieved 2007-04-15. 
  3. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  4. ^

His son Tom Begich is a singer songwriter who tours and performs around the world.

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Howard W. Pollock
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alaska

Succeeded by
Don Young

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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