Remembering ex-Gov. Kernan: 'Best of friend' to Indiana

  • FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2005 file photo, Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan, right, and Lt. Gov. Kathy Davis wait for the start of the AFC wild-card game against the Denver Broncos in Indianapolis. Kernan has died at age 74. His governor's office chief of staff says Kernan died early Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at a South Bend health care facility.

    FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2005 file photo, Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan, right, and Lt. Gov. Kathy Davis wait for the start of the AFC wild-card game against the Denver Broncos in Indianapolis. Kernan has died at age 74. His governor's office chief of staff says Kernan died early Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at a South Bend health care facility. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 7/29/2020 12:01 PM

INDIANAPOLIS -- Reaction to Wednesday's death of former Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan:

'His compassion and skill, along with his innate and genuine ability to bring people in to engage, comfortably, whether just in a conversation or in working together on a project, made him a leader Hoosiers trusted. That was never more apparent than when he was unexpectedly placed into the governor's seat in September 2003. Joe Kernan was a partner in governing and leading Indiana with Frank (O'Bannon), and most importantly the best of friend to both of us and to his beloved South Bend and Hoosier state.' - former Indiana first lady Judy O'Bannon Willsey

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

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'Joe Kernan's many and noteworthy contributions to Notre Dame, our community, the state and our nation cannot be overstated. ... In addition to his government service, he was a beloved civic leader who never shied away from challenges. He was always a good friend to Notre Dame, and a friend and support to me personally.' - Rev. John Jenkins, University of Notre Dame president

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'Joe Kernan was at different times my ally, opponent and adviser, but always a friend to me, and as far as I could tell to everyone he met. In wartime and in peace, he embodied patriotism and the goodwill toward all we associate with the term 'Hoosier.' He was a true leader, and we have lost him far too soon. Those among us so ready to bear malice against those with whom they differ and either so ignorant or so ungrateful that they disdain those whose sacrifices gave them the freedom to express their views should pause and consider the life and character of Joe Kernan.' - former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels

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'There will not be another like Joe Kernan. South Bend will always be proud of his heroism in uniform and his leadership as our mayor and governor. And his friends will always remember his exuberant joy, his compassion for the vulnerable, his ready smile, and his inimitable laugh.' - former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg

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'Indiana mourns the loss of Joe Kernan, a bona fide American hero, decorated Navy officer, and truly selfless statesman who always placed the interests of his fellow Hoosiers first. ... Through his decades of servant leadership and sacrifice, Joe Kernan modeled all the best of what it means to be a Hoosier and his legacy will continue to live on in each of us whom he inspired.' - Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb

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