It has been 16 years since the last member of a presidential cabinet died in office – the sixth longest stretch in the nation’s history. Overall, 15 cabinet members have died in office including three Secretaries of State, two Attorneys General, two Postmasters General, two Secretaries of the Navy, two Treasury Secretaries, and one Secretary of Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, and War respectively. That equals the total number of presidents (eight) and vice-presidents (seven) who have died in office. The last cabinet member to die in office was Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown – in a plane crash in Croatia in 1996. That ended a 48-year period since the last such cabinet member (Harry Truman Labor Secretary Lewis Schwellenbach in 1948).


  1. Robert on December 13, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Correction—There have been two Sec. of Commerce that have died in office—-Ron Brown (noted in post) and Malcolm Baldridge, Jr. (Reagan’s 1st Commerce Sec., 1981-1987). Baldridge died after suffering injuries in a rodeo accident in California.

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