Joe Kernan Death – Dead: Joe Kernan Obituary: Cause of Death
Kernan, 74, passed away at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday after a prolonged illness, according to a news release from Kernan’s former chief of staff, Mary Downes. Kernan had Alzheimer’s disease.
— Alzheimer's Association Greater Indiana Chapter (@AlzIndiana) July 29, 2020
Kernan was elected in 1996 as Indiana lieutenant governor under Frank O’Bannon, and was reelected in 2000. After O’Bannon’s sudden death by stroke in 2003, he served as governor until 2005, losing a bid for reelection to Republican Mitch Daniels.
Gov. Eric Holcomb directed flags to be flown at half staff to honor Kernan through sunset Aug. 5.
“Through his decades of servant leadership and sacrifice,” Holcomb said, “Joe Kernan modeled all the best of what it means to be a Hoosier and his legacy will continue to live on in each of us whom he inspired.”
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no public services.
Kernan lost the 2004 election to Daniels. In 2005, Kernan retired from politics, moved back to South Bend and convinced 50 other members of the community to purchase the minor league South Bend Silver Hawks baseball team. At the time the team, now known as the South Bend Cubs, was close to leaving the city.
“Joe Kernan’s many and noteworthy contributions to Notre Dame, our community, the state and our nation cannot be overstated,” John I. Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame, said in a statement. “In addition to his government service, he was a beloved civic leader who never shied away from challenges. He was always a good friend to Notre Dame, and a friend and support to me personally.
“Our prayers are with his wife, Maggie, their family and his many friends. We grieve over his passing, while simultaneously recognizing a remarkable life. May he rest in peace.”