In Memoriam: John Connors

"He was always a gentleman, always diplomatic, always passionate about his causes." — Rep. Mark Smith, paying tribute to former State Represeentative John Connors.

John Connors served in the Iowa House of Representatives for 32 years and for the two decades when I knew him, Connors' desk was at the back of the chamber, right inside the south doors to the House.  He was a sort of self-appointed ambassador of good will, always ready with a pleasant word and a kind smile. He was a Golden Gloves champion, a former Marine and a Des Moines fire fighter from 1950 to 1977 in addition to his long service in the legislature; he did not seek re-election in 2004. Connors died Saturday at the age of 86, after a long illness 

Representative Mark Smith, a Democrat from Marshalltown, spoke momens ago on the House floor about Connors.  "He was very much beloved," Smith said. "…Let's remember this great person."  At that point, the current members of the House stood to applaud.

Smith was the only person to speak in the House.  Two senators paid tribute to Connors today.  Senator David Johnson (R-Ocheyedan) said this of Connors:  "He was the model for civility in public discourse."

House Speaker Pat Murphy, a Democrat from Dubuque. released a statement this afternoon.

"John Connors was a true statesman.  As a merchant marine, fire fighter and state representative, he dedicated his life to public service and spent more than a half century serving our country, state and community.

"I'll always remember John's firm handshake and outstanding character. When he gave you his word, it was as strong as his handshake.  You could have an honest conversation with him about anything and know he would never tell anyone.

"My thoughts and prayers are with Marge and his family.  It was a great honor to serve with John in the Iowa House and he will be missed."

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.