Richard Lugar remembered as public servant, diplomat, ‘legendary role model’

Dozens of tributes to Richard Lugar rolled in on social media and in media releases Sunday as news spread of the death of the former Indianapolis mayor and U.S. senator from Indiana.

Lugar, 87, died Sunday, at the Inova Fairfax Heart and Vascular Institute in Virginia from complications related to chronic inflammatory demylinating polyneuropathy, or CIPD, a rare neurological disorder.

Public officials from both sides of the political spectrum praised Lugar for his years of public service, his dedication to world security and his willingness to find political compromise when he found it the best course.

Following is a sampling of those tributes:

Eric Holcomb, Indiana governor

“The world weeps alongside Indiana after just learning we lost one of our best, ever. As an always faithful servant to the highest ideals in every walk of his incredible life, Richard Lugar ran the family farm, charted a new innovative course for Indiana’s capital city, and devoted a record six terms as a U.S. Senator to making the world a more prosperous and peaceful place.

“He was an officer and gentleman, father and faith leader, a Mayor and Senator, a diplomat and legendary role model to millions.

“Janet and I are keeping Mrs. Lugar and their wonderful family in our prayers and ask all those touched by his service to join us.”

Mitch Daniels, Purdue University president (Daniels spent more than a decade as Lugar's U.S. Senate chief staff.)

“Words are hard to come by right now.  Dick Lugar was not just the finest public servant I will ever know, he was the finest person. He embodied all we can hope for in our leaders: brilliance of mind, purity of motive, stainless in character, tireless in the pursuit of duty. Incomparably knowledgeable about the world, he was first and always a patriot, utterly dedicated to the security and wellbeing of his fellow Americans. His voice is now silent, but he is still with us. Indianapolis is a thriving and vibrant city because of him. The world is safer from nuclear danger because of him. And so many of us, while falling far short of the standards he set, are vastly better people because of him.”

Mike Pence, U.S. vice president

“Hoosiers are saddened today to learn of the passing of one of our greatest statesmen. Sen. Lugar’s contributions to the life of our nation are countless.

"Richard Lugar was a leader not only in the Senate but also on the world stage, where he worked tirelessly to bring pressure to end apartheid in South Africa and enforce treaties that destroyed Soviet weapons of mass destruction.

“As the longest serving member of Congress from Indiana, and a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, he leaves behind a legacy of public service that will inspire Hoosiers for generations.”

Joe Hogsett, Indianapolis mayor

"Today, Indianapolis mourns the loss of a native Hoosier and American statesman who changed the face of our city and embodied the heart of our nation.

"Sen. Lugar's career is rightfully characterized by his time in the United States Senate and his outstanding leadership on matters of foreign security and international diplomacy. But he began his public life as a member of the Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners, before becoming a visionary mayor who embraced the transformative potential of local government. He understood that progress could only occur when good ideas and good people came together—from all sides of the political landscape. And he demonstrated a commitment to country over party, community over self, that is almost unparalleled in today's polarized world."

Barack Obama, former U.S. president

"Today, thousands of warheads, bombers, and submarines no longer threaten us because of Dick's work. America is safer because of Dick; the world is, too. His passing is a reminder of the constant and pressing need to expand international nonproliferation agreements. And it's a call to remember what a public servant can be."

Joe Biden, former U.S. vice president

“Dick Lugar was among the most decent men I have ever known. Kind, loyal, dedicated beyond measure to the service of the American people. Dick Lugar was my dear friend.”

Anne Hathaway, executive director of the Richard G. Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series

“Our city, state, country and world have been forever etched with the leadership and vision of Sen. Richard G. Lugar. Sen. Lugar was a singular force for good who can never be replaced.

“The Richard G. Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series is a small piece of his global legacy but its impact on Indiana has been profound. His leadership will live on through the 529 women leaders who have been trained through the program, which is now poised to kick off its 30th year.”

Suzanne Crouch, Indiana Lt. governor

"Sen. Lugar was an institution, a policymaker and true advocate for the state of Indiana. His work in Congress remains unparalleled.

"His political power influenced those around him, including myself. I first was inspired to enter politics in 1982, when I worked for him on his campaign trail. I know countless individuals who are in the leadership positions they are today, because of Sen. Lugar.

"I join the country in mourning the incredible loss we have incurred, along with his family. Indiana would not be the state it is without him, and we are forever in his debt."

Andre Carson, U.S. representative from Indianapolis

“I’m extremely saddened by news of the passing of Sen. Richard Lugar, a true statesman whose decades of public service left an indelible mark on Indiana, our nation and our world. I’m praying for his loved ones. He was a brilliant scholar, a brave member of our armed forces, and a dedicated public servant who championed people and principle over party.

“His commitment to good governance and diplomacy, particularly his tireless efforts on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, made our world a better, safer place. He won the respect of people across the political spectrum and earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama–our nation’s highest civilian honor.”

Robert L. Manuel, University of Indianapolis president

"It is with a deep sense of sorrow that we acknowledge the passing of Sen. Richard G. Lugar. Like so many in our community, the University of Indianapolis had a long and meaningful relationship with Sen. Lugar. He served as a member of our Board of Trustees from 1970 to 2002, and also shaped the youth of Indiana by personally mentoring more than 20,000 young Hoosier leaders over the past 42 years through the Lugar Symposium for Tomorrow’s Leaders at the University of Indianapolis.

"We have benefited greatly by his presence on campus over the past 42 years and by his mayoral archives which reside within the University’s Institute for Civic Leadership. In many ways, these records will ensure that his leadership style, approach to public service and impact will be remembered. Sen. Lugar’s life example served as a model for our students. He was a constant reminder that all individual talents should accrue to the benefits of others, and he believed that civic engagement was a cornerstone of a meaningful life and the bedrock of a civil society.

"Whether as faculty, board member, special lecturer or graduation speaker, he was a beacon to our community and will be missed."

Stephen Goldsmith, former Indianapolis mayor

“Sen. Lugar represented the very best of public service. No one is more responsible for Indy’s success. Dick inspired and encouraged me from the time I was at Broad Ripple H.S through my term as mayor. His contributions to our city and world will be enduring.”

Pete Buttigieg, South Bend mayor

“America has lost a true statesman in Dick Lugar. A great mayor, senator, and mentor, he made the world safer, stood up for better foreign policy, and knew how to work across the aisle.”

Joe Donnelly, former U.S. senator

“Indiana and America have lost an American hero today in Richard Lugar. He dedicated his life to serving our country. I am personally crushed by this loss as he was a hero and mentor to me, and I always tried to live up to his example in the United States Senate.”

John Kasich, former Ohio governor

“Sen. Lugar was a giant, a great public servant and a friend. He deeply loved our country. I will miss him.”

Kevin Brinegar, Indiana Chamber of Commerce president and CEO

“Richard Lugar was the ultimate public servant and bipartisan leader. His impacts will be felt for generations to come in Indianapolis, our state, our nation and globally. He was an invaluable mentor to myself and thousands of others.”

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