During a news conference designed to address the pandemic, Gov. Eric Holcomb began his remarks with a tribute to Joe Kernan.
Here is some of what he had to say:
"The City of South Bend and the State of Indiana and the nation and the Navy lost a good man. They lost a trusted man, a loyal man, someone who taught so many so much. He had a loving toughness about him that I will never be able to relate to. When General Douglas MacArthur talked about duty, honor and country, he was talking exactly about Joe Kiernan, our Joe Kernan. He would always say 'Call me Joe.'
This was a man who you wanted in the arena to face those challenging times. The challenges he faced not only revealed his impeccable character, but they remind us, inspired us, that we can all do better. I will miss that sparkle in his eye, that warm Hoosier smile... He is smiling down from that golden dome in the sky."
Governor Eric Holcomb has commented on the passing of former Gov. Joe Kernan.
(You can read his statement below.)
“Indiana mourns the loss of Joe Kernan, a bona fide American hero, decorated Navy officer, and truly selfless statesman who always placed the interests of his fellow Hoosiers first.
Distinguished isn’t a strong enough word to describe him. Without regard for personal cost, Joe Kernan devoted every ounce of his life, time and again, to upholding the oath he took, and serving the country and state he loved.
Undeterred after being shot down and tortured in Vietnam, he returned and led his beloved City of South Bend as mayor for three terms, and our state as our 47th lieutenant governor. When duty called him to step into a role he didn’t seek, he served as our 48th governor.
Through his decades of servant leadership and sacrifice, Joe Kernan modeled all the best of what it means to be a Hoosier and his legacy will continue to live on in each of us whom he inspired.
Janet and I ask Hoosiers across our state to join us in lifting up in prayer Mrs. Kernan, their incredible family, and all whose lives he touched.”