NEW HAVEN, Ind. (WANE) - Phyllis Pond, a former State Representative and the longest serving female state representative in Indiana history died Sunday.
The Indiana Statehouse issued the following statement:
State Representative Phyllis Pond (R- New Haven) passed away on Sunday, September 22nd at 6:34 pm after being diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in early September.
Rep. Pond was elected to the state legislature in 1978 and was the longest serving female state representative in the history of Indiana. She was also the first female lawmaker to earn a seat in the front row in the House Chamber, which is reserved for House leaders or representatives with the most seniority.
Visitation and funeral arrangements will be held at the Emanuel Lutheran Church in New Haven and will be made open to the public. Time and date are still being determined by the Pond family.
Cards can be sent to Rep. Phyllis Pond’s family at 8530 Seiler Road, New Haven, IN 46774.
“The State of Indiana mourns the loss of a leader and a friend to all Hoosiers. Phyllis was a revered colleague, a strong voice for her district and a compassionate conservative who always stood by her principles,” said House Speaker Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis).
Prior to being elected to the legislature, Rep. Pond worked as a kindergarten teacher. Based on this experience, she authored the Primetime Education Bill which capped kindergarten through third grade classroom sizes at 18. During her 35 years of service in the House, she was also instrumental in crafting many other key pieces of legislation to improve the livelihood and education of Hoosier students.
Reminiscent of her days in the classroom, for her last few years as a legislator, Rep. Pond cast her votes with a ruler. This allowed her to vote without reaching across the desk to push the buttons – an idea which she couldn’t believe took her 30 years to think of.
She was also very passionate about giving back to those who have served our country. During the holidays, she always encouraged people to send cards and words of encouragement to the service men and women fighting overseas. To her, it was the least she could do to say thank you and show her support.
“Phyllis has been a steadfast leader in our caucus and has forged a new path for women legislators in Indiana. Her dedication and service will continue to be fondly remembered by all. She will undoubtedly be missed,” said Speaker Bosma.
The House of Representatives will honor Rep. Phyllis Pond on Organization Day, November 19th in the House Chamber. At that time, her name will be added to the “In Memory Of” plaque that is displayed in the House Chamber that lists legislators who have died while serving the citizens of Indiana in the House of Representatives.
The Indiana Republican Party announced earlier this month a caucus will be held Oct. 8 to fill Pond's vacant seat. Pond announced in late August should would not seek re-election. Pond's resignation was set for Oct. 15.
The caucus will be held at the Allen County Republican Party headquarters in Fort Wayne beginning at 6 p.m.
Candidates who are interested must file their declaration of candidacy with the Indiana Republican Party Secretary no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4. The person selected will serve out the remainder of Pond's term which runs through 2014.
Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) released the following statement on the passing of former State Representative Phyllis Pond:
Phyllis Pond was an historic leader for Allen County and for the people of Indiana. She was one of the first women to serve in the State Legislature from our area, and she served with great effectiveness, passion and distinction for 35 years. She never lost her zeal for the job, nor her focus on improving the lives of the people of our state. It's hard to imagine our delegation without Phyllis. We will miss her greatly.
The Allen County Board of Commissioners released the following statement on the passing of State Rep. Phyllis Pond:
We were greatly saddened to learn of the death of State Representative Phyllis Pond of New Haven. As Indiana’s longest serving female state representative, Phyllis was an inspiration to women throughout the state.
During her 35 years in office, Phyllis was committed to the people of her district and this state. Guided by her experience as a teacher, she became a strong advocate for improving educational opportunities for our students. We will always remember and appreciate Representative Pond’s willingness to work side by side with our office in crafting and supporting legislation designed to make Allen County a better place in which to live.
On behalf of Allen County government, the Board of Commissioners wishes to extend its sincere condolences and offer our prayers to Representative Pond’s entire family.
U.S. Congressman Marlin Stutzman this statement on the passing of longtime public servant, teacher, and former State Representative Phyllis Pond:
As we mourn the loss of a distinguished Hoosier public servant, Christy and I offer our sympathies to the Pond family. As a teacher with a lifelong passion for education, Phyllis’ sincerity and commitment were clear to everyone who had the privilege of working alongside her. Hoosiers have lost an extraordinary leader and she will be missed.
U.S. Senator Dan Coats released this following statement about State Rep. Phyllis Pond and her service to northeast Indiana:
“Phyllis was a true friend and someone who dedicated her life to public service. She faithfully represented the interests of Hoosiers in her district. Marsha and I extend our deepest condolences to her family and also our gratitude for her example of living a life dedicated to serving others and the community."
Visitation and funeral services for Former State Rep. Phyllis Pond will be held at the Emanuel Lutheran Church in New Haven and will be made open to the public. The calling hours will be on Thursday September 26th from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. The funeral services will start at 10:30 a.m. on Friday.
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