In his 101 years on this earth, P.E. MacAllister’s accomplishments were legendary. From his service in North Africa in World War II to his role in helping to define the careers of Mayor Hudnut and Sen. Lugar, he defined the meaning of life. In addition, he found the time to start and manage a major Indianapolis corporation, and it was not hard to understand his amusing dedication to a three-ounce dry gin martini each night before dinner.
But while many accomplished people are writing tributes to this wonderful man, I am simply doing so as a friend. For over 20 years, I participated in a local Indianapolis cable TV show entitled “Opinions” where P.E. hosted, and it was an experience that I will always cherish. P.E. would spring the topics on me and the accomplished IUPUI professor David Stocum and we would tape the show live. P.E. would have notes defining various issues and the three of us would laugh and spar over a one-hour period. I relished that experience on our last day of taping to close the show before Christmas of last year as much as we did when we began decades ago.
In the process, I was honored to become P.E.’s friend. He would mock me given my alleged liberal political views in the same fashion that I would laughingly forgive him for his Republican dedication.
While I have many favorite moments from our shows, none represents our affection for each other more than a joke that I told repeatedly during our tapings. Given his intelligence, accomplishments and good health as he neared his 100th birthday, I would tell him that I wished there was a way to have his DNA extracted and implanted into every Hoosier newborn. Grinning while he knew what was coming, I would tell him that the only downside was that every Hoosier would grow up to be a conservative Republican.
All politicians, particularly Republicans, should dedicate themselves to following in P.E.’s footsteps. He knew the meaning of compromise and always found time to have a glass of wine where we could look to find a way to hurdle our differences.
The world is a better place because of P.E. MacAllister, and I am a better person.