Phyllis Pond In Memoriam: Legislator, Educator, Advocate
Phyllis Pond, the longest serving female state representative in Indiana history, has passed away today at the age of 82. Pond, a resident of New Haven, represented Allen County in the statehouse for 35 years. By way of perspective, when she was first elected I was only two years old.
A kindergarten teacher in New Haven, it was often said that if Pond hadn’t taught one of her constituents in school, she taught their kids. She was known by those around Allen County for speaking her mind and not hesitating to lean on her experience to guide her decision-making.
While her health declined in later years, Pond never stopped doing what she could to represent her constituents. The House Majority Caucus sent out a press release relaying that she started using a ruler to make it easier for her to reach the voting buttons in the House of Representatives.
As an outspoken leader who did not shy from what she believed, she generated a number of enemies and many considered challenging her for her seat and others would run against her year in and year out and she defeated all comers. I remember having conversations with many people who would look at running against her and ultimately felt that Pond’s connection with her constituents was too strong for them to overcome.
Pond had already announced her intention to resign from office and a caucus is scheduled to select the candidate who will represent the 85th House District in Indianapolis. While there are a number of qualified candidates running for the position, it can be safely said that whoever successfully navigates the caucus can never replace Phyllis Pond.
Here are some tweets being shared by those who knew and worked with Pond:
Chris Sikich of the Indianapolis Star was the first to report the news online:
Former State Rep. Phyllis Pond, R-New Haven, has died after being diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis earlier this month. #inlegis
— Chris Sikich (@ChrisSikich) September 23, 2013
May she RIP. RT @INCtoday: BREAKING: Former State Rep. Phyllis Pond, R-New Haven, has died.
— Morgan Rigg (@Morg25) September 23, 2013
Indiana mourns the loss of State Rep. Phyllis Pond today. Our most sincere thoughts & prayers are with her friends and family.
— Indiana House GOP (@INHouseGOP) September 23, 2013
RIP Rep. Phyllis Pond. Great Hoosier.
— Jerry Torr (@TorrJer) September 23, 2013
Sad news about the passing of Rep Phyllis Pond. I am grateful for her love and service to her family, community and our State
— Todd Huston (@tmhuston) September 23, 2013
God’s peace to the family of Representative Phyllis Pond upon her passing today. May she now rest in the care of our Lord!
— Martin Carbaugh (@martincarbaugh) September 23, 2013
I am deeply saddened by Phyllis Pond’s passing. I have known her since I was six. My thoughts are with Jean, Doug, Bill and George tonight.
— Mitch Harper (@MVHarper) September 23, 2013
Rep. Phyllis Pond will be fondly remembered as a strong leader who always spoke her mind and would move mountains for her constituents.
— Rep. Dave Ober (@DaveOber) September 23, 2013
Sad news that Rep Phyllis Pond, R-New Haven, died today. She was an #INLegis veteran, a former kindergarten teacher, & a smiling face.
— Mary Beth Schneider (@marybschneider) September 23, 2013