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Tributes flow from White House to Corydon

Tributes flow from White House to Corydon
Tributes flow from White House to Corydon
It was -10 degrees in Indianapolis Jan. 13, 1997, when Frank O'Bannon's first inauguration took place outside the Statehouse. He took the oath of office from Congressman Lee Hamilton, who is shaking his hand as First Lady Judy O'Bannon looks on. (Photo by Randy West)

President George W. Bush:
‘Frank O’Bannon was a dedicated public servant and a good and decent man. He led a distinguished career, including service in the Air Force, in the Indiana State Senate, and as lieutenant governor. Since being sworn in as governor of Indiana in 1997, he has served the people of his state with integrity and devotion. Laura joins me in sending our thoughts and prayers to his wife, Judy, and their family.’
Gov. Joe Kernan:
‘ … I’ve lost my governor and my friend. So, too, has every Hoosier lost their governor and their friend. Tomorrow (last Sunday) I would ask that all over the state of Indiana we have a day of remembrance, a day of reflection, sorrow and joy for a life that was lived to the fullest in the service of the people of the state of Indiana so that every Hoosier could live their lives to the fullest.’
U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar:
‘The death of our Gov. Frank O’Bannon is a great loss … Frank O’Bannon was a strong advocate for all of our state. He was tireless, unselfish, a good man in every sense of the word. A family man. A person who was kindly to every person he dealt with. He was able to work in a bipartisan way on behalf of our state. He was a man of character … Indiana is going to be strong. The lieutenant governor, Joe Kernan, our incoming governor, understands what needs to be done, and so do legislators. They will rise to the occasion and so will all of us to help them.’
U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh:
‘I join all Hoosiers in mourning the passing of Frank O’Bannon. He was a statesman in life, generous of spirit, and always focused on the public good rather than self interest … ‘
Ninth District Congressman Baron Hill:
‘Betty and I are terribly saddened about the death of Frank O’Bannon … While we mourn the loss of a good and decent man, I hope we remember and celebrate Frank’s life and his many contributions to the people of Indiana.’
Former Congressman Lee Hamilton:
‘He was a very good man from a remarkable family. He typified in his life the qualities associated with Hoosiers: down to earth, lack of pretense, very sound Hoosier common sense, very low key in personal relationships, and he was immensely popular. We’ve lost a great public service.’
State Sen. Richard Young:
‘Like all Hoosiers, I am deeply saddened by the passing of Gov. Frank O’Bannon. He was a public servant in the truest sense of the word. Frank was profoundly committed to improving the lives of all Hoosiers. Indiana is a much better state because of him … I hope that Frank’s spirit of public service will live on in the hearts and minds of all Hoosiers for generations to come.’
State Rep. Paul Robertson:
‘Frank O’Bannon was a unique politician ‘ he was admired and respected by friend and foe alike. I consider it a great honor to have served with him in state government, but an even greater honor to have called him a friend.’
Joe Andrew, former state Democratic party chair, now candidate for governor:
‘We have lost a great governor, a true leader and a dear friend. Gov. O’Bannon served the people of Indiana for most of his adult life, and he did so in a way that makes me proud to be able to say that I knew him, worked for him, respected him and loved him. My family now joins all Hoosiers and Frank’s many friends from around the country to pay our respects. This gentle but strong man, who epitomized everything we Hoosiers hold dear, will certainly be missed.’
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Psalm 116
Mitch Daniels, Republican candidate for governor:
‘We have lost a good and decent man, someone I will miss very much … ‘
Jim Kittle Jr., chairman, Indiana Republican Party:
‘Indiana has lost a true statesman and a friend. Gov. O’Bannon was an outstanding man, husband, father and grandfather. This is a time for prayer … Our prayers are also with Gov. Joe Kernan as he guides our state through this difficult time.’
Fred Cammack, president, Corydon Town Council:
‘During his long career in Indiana politics, Frank never placed getting reelected higher on his agenda than serving his constituents. I think Frank got involved in politics to make Indiana a better place to live and work. Even after more than 30 years in public office, you can’t find anyone on either side of the fence that will say anything bad about him as a person. He never forgot his roots in Corydon, where he started as a lawyer and small business owner. Frank never looked down on anyone, but considered every person his equal.’
Steve Haggard, chair of the Harrison County Central Democratic Committee:
‘Frank O’Bannon was a very approachable man, who could also be kind of a prankster. He liked to be around people, both those he knew and those he didn’t. He liked to know what was going on at home (in Harrison County). If he saw you somewhere, he managed to say something to you. He was a hometown hero.’
Denny Huber, president and publisher, O’Bannon Publishing Co.:
‘Frank O’Bannon was a good, honest and caring person who spent his professional life helping people, his community and the state of Indiana as a public servant. His fair and honest approach to the many issues he faced during his lifetime will long be remembered. His influence will long continue because of the positive attitude he had toward life. He climbed the ladder of success to the top, but never stopped being the boy from a small town in rural Harrison County who made it big. He is still one of us. Just Frank. That is one reason we all loved and respected him.’
Randy West, editor, The Corydon Democrat:
‘It was my privilege to call Frank O’Bannon my boss for 33 years. What a wonderful and amazing ride that was! To know that someone like him, plus his wife, Judy, were behind you was a powerful and mighty reassuring feeling. The amazing thing to a journalist and editor is that in all those years, he never told me what to write or think. Of course, I went to him for advice, and he was always there. If you had a big issue or a big problem, you’d want to talk with Frank, and many other people around Indiana probably felt the same way.’
Holly Cummings, former staff writer for The Corydon Democrat:
‘I am so sorry about your loss, which is really everyone’s loss right now, of Corydon’s favored son. And I’m so thankful and grateful that because of you and through you, I had the opportunity to grasp a tiny piece of that specialness … My wonderful memory of Frank reflects the kind of regular guy he was: He held my hand during the invocation in 1997 at the annual O’Bannon Publishing Co. holiday dinner. At that moment, he was just another member of the O’Bannon Publishing family, like me, bowing his head in prayer, connected to the whole by holding hands. I don’t know who held my other hand. I guess because I was so overwhelmed at the thought that I was holding hands with the governor!’
Roger Williams, former North Harrison school superintendent:
‘It is a sad and tragic loss for everyone involved from those of you who worked with him on a daily basis to those of us who only knew him somewhat afar to all of those who knew him only as the great governor of the great state of Indiana. I am even more impressed as I read the stories in the Indianapolis papers regarding his and Judy’s involvement in their Methodist church in Indianapolis and the comment that he ‘practiced his Christianity.’ What a tribute! We lifted him (and all of you in the great state of Indiana) up in our prayers here at the Navarre (Fla.) UMC this morning. May your faith, and the memories of his and Judy’s faith and actions, sustain and comfort all of you at The Corydon Democrat in the days ahead.’
Brian Bates, reader:
‘We lost a great man this week. Frank was always like the father of our entire community. My father wrote the following in a letter he sent me some time before his death: ‘Death is not extinguishing the flame, it’s turning out the lamp because the dawn has come.’ ‘
Myra Emily Lowe, reader:
‘Learning of the passing of Gov. Frank O’Bannon today has hurt all Hoosiers. Having spent many summers on my grandparents’ Harrison County farm in my youth, and because my family lived in many central and Southern Indiana cities, Harrison County has often felt most like home to me. We Harrison Countians have lost a favorite son and a good friend in Mr. O’Bannon. And our state has lost a leader filled with grace and dignity … ‘