August 29, 2023

Former Tennessee Republican Governor Don Sundquist Dead at 87

Former Tennessee Republican Gov. Don Sundquist died Sunday at the age of 87.

The former governor passed away after a short illness while surrounded by his family members.

"Chuck and I are saddened to hear of former Gov. Don Sundquist’s passing," Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn wrote.

"He was a good man, who served our country and state faithfully in the U.S. Navy, as Congressman, and as Governor. We join Tennesseans in prayer for his wife Martha, 3 children, and grandchildren," she added.

"Born in Moline, Illinois on March 15, 1936, Sundquist was a graduate of Augustana College. He went on to serve in the United States Navy. After years in the printing and advertising industry in Shelbyville and Memphis, he was elected to Congress, representing Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District. Sundquist served six terms in Congress, and was on the Ways and Means Committee, where he earned the reputation as a staunch fiscal conservative," Tennesee Gov. Bill Lee's office said in a news release.

"He was elected Governor of Tennessee in 1994, and overwhelmingly re-elected to a second term in 1998. Under his leadership, Tennessee implemented a ground-breaking welfare reform program, comprehensive crime legislation focusing on victims’ rights, and set record levels of economic development," it added.

During his time in office, Tennessee gained two professional sports teams, the Tennessee Titans NFL football team and the Nashville Predators NHL hockey team.

The former governor was also known for his focus on health care, helping the state become the first in the nation to offer some level of universal health care for residents.

Sundquist was married for 64 years to his wife, Martha, who survives her husband. They also have three children and two grandchildren.

The former governor's impact leaves a deep legacy in the state of Tennessee and beyond, leaving behind a lifetime of public service.

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