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O'Bannon's bronze bust unveiled outside Senate chamber


February 15, 2006 | 09:14 AM

Former First Lady Judy O'Bannon Monday unveiled the bronze bust of her late husband, a former senator, lieutenant governor and governor, Frank L. O'Bannon, in the Statehouse in Indianapolis Monday.

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Daughters Polly Zoeller, left, and Jennifer O'Bannon and others applaud the likeness of their father, the late Gov. Frank O'Bannon, along with his son, Jon O'Bannon, his wife, Soni and their daughters Elle, left, and Kadence, in Soni's arms. Former First Lady Judy O'Bannon is to the right of the bronze bust, talking to her granddaughter, Elle. Gov. Mitch Daniels and former Gov. Joe Kernan are in the background. (Photo by Beau Zoeller)
The likeness of the man from Corydon, known as a consensus builder throughout his 18 years as a senator, eight years as lieutenant governor and seven as governor, is impressive, said Corydon's town board president Fred Cammack, who went to Indianapolis for the unveiling along with several others from Harrison County, including the O'Bannon children, grandchildren and other relatives.

"I was impressed with the sculptor," Cammack said. "It really looks like Frank. I just think they did a really nice job on it."

Addressing a crowd of about 400 in the Statehouse rotunda, Judy O'Bannon described her husband as a man committed to government, to making a community with all kinds of people involved.

She said, "He wasn't perfect always in his decisions or his actions. He was a man, a human being, like all of us."

For those reasons, she stressed the importance of portraying her husband as he was, from his easy smile to his large, crooked nose.

The sculptor, Ken Ryden of Anderson, said he hopes the bust, which sits outside the Senate chamber, inspires visitors to learn more about the man, to carry on his causes.

O'Bannon's long-held dream was that Indiana's children would have the advantage of full-day kindergarten, and that dream may yet become reality.

Legislators could honor O'Bannon's memory by "coming together next year to enact full-day kindergarten," said Tom New, O'Bannon's former chief of staff.

Others who spoke at the unveiling included Gov. Mitch Daniels, Rep. Paul Robertson of Depauw and former Gov. Joe Kernan, who succeeded O'Bannon when he died in September 2003.

The sculpture was paid for with private donations.

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Corydon Democrat, 301 N. Capitol Ave., Corydon, IN 47112 • 1-812-738-2211 • email