Prominent politicians and community leaders are remembering former Indiana Governor Edgar Whitcomb. The man who led the state from 1969-1973 died Thursday in Perry County. Governor Mike Pence has requested flags be flown at half-staff and said "Indiana will never forget or fail to be inspired by the life and example of Governor Edgar D. Whitcomb." Former governor and current Purdue University President Mitch Daniels called Whitcomb "utterly unique in so many ways."
The World War II veteran authored a book titled "Escape from Corregidor," which detailed his two escapes from enemy capture. In a statement, Governor Mike Pence also said Whitcomb was "a great man whose life of courage, service and adventure inspired generations of Hoosiers and he will be deeply missed." Edgar Whitcomb was 98.
Whitcomb died Thursday at his home that overlooks the Ohio River in Rome, Indiana. He received a law degree from Indiana University and later became a member of the State Senate and served as Indiana Secretary of State prior to becoming the state’s 43rd governor.
Pence said Whitcomb "led a period of reform and modernization in state government. During his term as governor, Ed Whitcomb led the state of Indiana with common sense and conviction, improving the lives of Hoosiers." He continued "Ed Whitcomb’s zest for life was evident in each of his 98 years. Following his retirement, Ed began sailing. He undertook voyages across both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Mediterranean and beyond. Ed Whitcomb served our country, our state and saw the world throughout his incredible life. Yet, in his later years, and for all that he did and saw, Ed knew that nothing could compare to his beloved southern Indiana. On behalf of all Hoosiers, Karen and I offer our deepest sympathies and prayers to Governor Ed Whitcomb’s family, his wife Evelyn, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and all those who knew this good and courageous man."
Daniels said "Ed Whitcomb personified the greatest generation that we all admire so much, but he was utterly unique in so many ways. I’m not sure I ever met a person with a life so heroic, rich and interesting as his. I was proud to know him, have his counsel and feel that I earned his friendship."
Senator Dan Coats said "Governor Whitcomb rose from a small community in Jennings County to serve Hoosiers in the highest ranks of our state government. A remarkable man who lived an amazing life, Governor Whitcomb was an author, an adventurer, a sailor, a war hero, a committed public servant and, above all else, a Hoosier. His impact on our state will be felt by generations to come, and I join with all Hoosiers in mourning the passing of a true Indiana legend."
Arrangements have not yet been announced.