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O’Bannon a gentleman of country charm

The Issue: Indiana governor hospitalized in Chicago. Our View: Our prayers are with the O’Bannons.
Hoosiers everywhere were saddened Monday by the grave news about Indiana Gov. Frank O’Bannon. He was found unconscious in his Chicago hotel room after apparently suffering a cerebral hemorrhage.
As surgery was being performed in Chicago, back in Indianapolis discussions were under way about the possible transfer of power to Lt. Gov. Joe Kernan.
Of course, we know Frank O’Bannon here as one of us, a Southern Indiana Hoosier with deep roots in Harrison and Crawford counties. We know Frank O’Bannon as a gentleman of country charm and good intentions.
In fact, at times it seemed O’Bannon was too much of a gentleman to relish the tough approach sometimes needed to prevail in the brand of statewide politics practiced in our state capital.
We know him best as someone who cares deeply about children and the quality of education they receive in Indiana schools. At times we have disagreed with parts of his education policy, but never have we doubted his genuine concern for children. The image that comes to mind is that of a kind grandfather encouraging children to read.
In Southern Indiana, we identify O’Bannon with the campaign to see an Interstate 69 built from Indianapolis to Evansville. In January, he gained great favor here by announcing his choice of a direct 1-69 route, the one most favored in Evansville.
Against the sad backdrop of Monday’s events, we offer our prayers to the governor, his family and friends and his many, many supporters.