Fred B. Rooney, a Democratic congressman from the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania who served in the House of Representatives from 1963 to 1979, died Dec. 23 at his home in Washington. He was 94.

The cause was complications of Parkinson’s disease, said a son, Gregory Rooney.

On Capitol Hill, Fred Rooney served on the House Transportation Committee, where his specialties included railroad issues. He was one of the architects of the 1976 legislation that established Conrail, which took over the operation of potentially profitable railroad companies that had fallen into bankruptcy, including Penn Central.

Rooney also had close ties to organized labor. “Keep the faith,” the Allentown Morning Call newspaper quoted him as having said to his constituents, “and don’t vote until you hear from me.”

He was defeated for re-election in 1978 by Republican Don Ritter, but he remained in Washington, working for Cassidy & Associates, a lobbying and government relations firm. Later he went into business for himself, representing such clients as Conrail, the Association of American Railroads and the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Frederick Bernard Rooney Jr. was born Nov. 6, 1925, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. His father was an Irish immigrant and a coal miner.

During World War II, Rooney served as an Army paratrooper in Europe. After the war, he attended the University of Georgia, graduating with a business degree in 1950.

In Bethlehem, he started a real estate and insurance business and became a local leader of the Young Democrats. He was elected to the Pennsylvania state senate in 1958 before winning a special election to the U.S. House in 1963, after his predecessor died in office.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Evelyn Lisle Rooney, and three children, Timothy Rooney, Gregory Rooney and Martha Rooney Webb, all of Washington; and seven grandchildren.

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