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Former Indiana Governor Edgar Whitcomb Dies At 98

Governor Mike Pence calls the former governor a courageous adventurer who inspired generations of Hoosiers.

Current Governor Mike Pence (left) sits with former Governor Edgar Whitcomb.

Photo: Courtesy Office of Gov. Mike Pence

Current Governor Mike Pence (left) sits with former Governor Edgar Whitcomb.

Indiana’s longest-living governor, Edgar Whitcomb, passed away Thursday at the age of 98.

Born in 1917 in southern Indiana, Edgar Whitcomb served in World War Two as a B-17 navigator. He twice escaped from a Japanese prisoner of war camp, detailing the account in his 1958 book “Escape from Corregidor.”

His first go at public office saw him serve three years in the State Senate in the early 50s before resigning to practice law.

A conservative Republican, in 1966 he became Indiana’s Secretary of State and two years later ascended to the governor’s mansion, becoming the last Indiana chief executive to be term-limited to a single four years in office.

He clashed with fellow Republicans in the legislature so much that they tried to get President Nixon to appoint him ambassador to Australia and get him out of office.

After losing another bid for U-S Senate to Richard Lugar in 1976, Whitcomb returned to practicing law.

In his retirement, he took up sailing and made largely solo voyages across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Whitcomb died in his Rome, Indiana home. In a statement, Governor Mike Pence calls the former governor a courageous adventurer who inspired generations of Hoosiers.

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