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Funeral to be held next week for Rep. Jackie Walorski

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Funeral arrangements have been announced for U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Jimtown), who was killed in an Elkhart County car accident Wednesday.

According to the Palmer Funeral Home’s website, a visitation will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 10 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Granger Community Church followed by a funeral service on Thursday, Aug. 11 at 11 a.m.

Family members, community members and local and state politicians gathered for a vigil outside Jimtown High School Thursday night to remember Walorski and the three others killed in the accident.

St. Joseph County Republican Party Chair and district director Zachery Potts and communications director Emma Thomson were in the car with Walorski traveling north on State Route 19 when it crossed the centerline and collided with a southbound vehicle driven by Edith Schmucker.

Funeral arrangements have also been made for Schmucker. According to a post on the Thompson Lengacher and Yoder Funeral Home's website, a visitation will be held on Saturday, Aug. 13 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the funeral home in Nappanee. Schmucker's obituary says she was a lifelong Nappanee area resident who worked at the Miller's Merry Manor rehabilitation and assisted living facility in Wakarusa. She is survived by three sons.

Walorski, a Republican, had represented Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District since 2013. She succeeded Democrat Joe Donnelly, who vacated the seat to run for U.S. Senate.

Walorski was born in South Bend and grew up in the Gilmer Park area. After attending Liberty Baptist College and graduating from Taylor University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in communications and public administration, she worked as a reporter at WSBT-TV for four years.

Following that, Walorski held various positions with the St. Joseph County Humane Society, Ancilla College, the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce and Indiana University South Bend before moving to Romania in 2000 to found and run a Christian charity ministry.

She was elected to the Indiana House in 2004 and served three terms before challenging Donnelly for the 2nd congressional district seat in 2010. She lost but announced plans to run for the seat again in 2011.

During the 2011-2013 session, the predominantly Republican Indiana legislature redrew the 2nd District, removing Michigan City and adding all of Elkhart County.

This made the district more Republican, and Donnelly opted to run for U.S. Senate instead. Walorski was narrowly elected in 2012, beating Democrat Brendan Mullen by just 1.4 percentage points. She was re-elected in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020 by more substantial margins.

Reactions to her death have poured in from across the country.

Contact Jakob at jlazzaro@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.

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Updated: August 5, 2022 at 1:17 PM EDT
Updated with funeral arrangements for Edith Schmucker.
Jakob Lazzaro comes to Indiana from Chicago, where he graduated from Northwestern University in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and a double major in History. Before joining WVPE, he wrote NPR's Source of the Week e-mail newsletter, and previously worked for CalMatters, Pittsburgh's 90.5 WESA and North by Northwestern.