FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) - Funeral details have been released for State Representative Phyllis Pond.
The viewing is scheduled for Thursday (Sept. 26), from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Emanuel Lutheran Church.
The funeral service is set for Friday at 10:30 a.m. at Emanuel Lutheran Church. Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann and Senator David Long were invited to speak at her service per Pond's personal request.
The funeral processional will leave Emanual Lutheran Church, travel north on Green, west on Lincoln Highway, south on Hartzell Rd and then east on Tillman to I-469 for travel to Warren.
Students from Central Lutheran and New Haven Middle School will be invited to line the sidewalks along the processional route to pay their final respects.
State representative Phyllis Pond has died, after submitting a letter of resignation in late August.
She told the Speaker of the House that her health would not allow her to complete her term and that she was resigning, effective October 15th.
She died Sunday.
"This is kind of Indiana's version of 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.' Well, this is 'Mrs. Pond the Kindergarten Teacher Went to the Legislature.' And kept things in line," says former State Representative Win Moses, who served across the aisle from Pond for 20 years.
As the longest-serving woman in the House of Representatives, Pond's 35-years saw her on every important committee including Ways and Means in charge of money, the Judiciary in charge of courts, and Local Government.
"She was not only a very good legislator, wise, prudent, careful, thoughtful, understood the bills very well, served on all the major committees, was thoroughly knowledgable in what needed to be done, she was also one of the nicest. She sat in the front row, she'd been there for 35 years, and she earned that honor in longevity, but she earned also by just being so kind and good, too,” Moses says.
He says Pond would call him during his eight years as Fort Wayne's mayor, asking how state issues might impact the city.
"She could be trusted to deal with any important issue, carry it well, and if it was accomplishable, she'd get it done,” Moses says.
New Haven Mayor Terry McDonald has similar memories.
"Being a teacher, she was able to bring people in and draw them in. And they just instantaneously wanted to like her and work with her. And I think that's why she was in office so very long,” McDonald says.
A funeral service is set for 10:30 Friday morning at Emanuel Lutheran Church in New Haven with calling from nine to ten a.m.
Pond was known for championing education, and authored a bill that limited class sizes for kindergarten through third grade to 18 students.
Phyllis Pond leaves behind a husband and three children. She was 82.
Former State Representative Phyllis Pond (R- New Haven) has passed away after being diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in early September.
“A devoted public servant for 35 years, Phyllis Pond led with integrity and passion, consistently placing the needs of those in her district before her own and influencing improvements to education for all Hoosiers," Indiana Governor Mike Pence said. "It is with heavy hearts that the First Lady and I offer our deepest condolences and prayers to her beloved family as we join them in mourning the loss of this extraordinary Hoosier leader.”
Rep. Pond was elected to the state legislature in 1978, and was the longest serving female state representative in the history of Indiana. She was also the first female lawmaker to earn a seat in the front row in the House Chamber, which is reserved for House leaders or representatives with the most seniority.
"Today, the State of Indiana mourns the loss of a leader and a friend to all Hoosiers. Phyllis was a revered colleague, a strong voice for her district and a compassionate conservative who always stood by her principles," said House Speaker Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis).
Prior to being elected to the legislature, Rep. Pond worked as a kindergarten teacher. From this experience, she authored the Primetime Education Bill which capped kindergarten through third grade classroom sizes at 18. During her 35 years of service in the House, she was also instrumental in crafting many other key pieces of legislation to improve the livelihood and education of Hoosier students.
Reminiscent of her days in the classroom, for her last few years as a legislator, Rep. Pond cast her votes with a ruler. This allowed her to vote without reaching across the desk to push the buttons - an idea which she couldn't believe took her 30 years to think of.
She was also very passionate about giving back to those who have served our country. During the holidays, she always encouraged people to send cards and words of encouragement to the service men and women fighting overseas. To her, it was the least she could do to say thank you and show her support.
"Phyllis has been a steadfast leader in our caucus and has forged a new path for women legislators in Indiana. Her dedication and service will continue to be fondly remembered by all. She will undoubtedly be missed," said Speaker Bosma.
“Phyllis Pond was an historic leader for Allen County and for the people of Indiana," Senate President Pro Tem avid Long said. "She was one of the first women to serve in the State Legislature from our area, and she served with great effectiveness, passion and distinction for 35 years. She never lost her zeal for the job, nor her focus on improving the lives of the people of our state. It's hard to imagine our delegation without Phyllis. We will miss her greatly.”
“As we mourn the loss of a distinguished Hoosier public servant, Christy and I offer our sympathies to the Pond family," Congressman Marlin Stutzman said. "As a teacher with a lifelong passion for education, Phyllis’ sincerity and commitment were clear to everyone who had the privilege of working alongside her. Hoosiers have lost an extraordinary leader and she will be missed.”
“Phyllis was a true friend and someone who dedicated her life to public service," Senator Dan Coats said. "She faithfully represented the interests of Hoosiers in her district. Marsha and I extend our deepest condolences to her family and also our gratitude for her example of living a life dedicated to serving others and the community."
“We were greatly saddened to learn of the death of State Representative Phyllis Pond of New Haven. As Indiana’s longest serving female state representative, Phyllis was an inspiration to women throughout the state. During her 35 years in office, Phyllis was committed to the people of her district and this state. Guided by her experience as a teacher, she became a strong advocate for improving educational opportunities for our students. We will always remember and appreciate Representative Pond’s willingness to work side by side with our office in crafting and supporting legislation designed to make Allen County a better place in which to live. On behalf of Allen County government, the Board of Commissioners wishes to extend its sincere condolences and offer our prayers to Representative Pond’s entire family.” - Statement from the Allen County Board of Commissioners.
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