The Buzz

Missouri, and the nation, reacts to the passing of Ike Skelton

Updated: 2013-10-29T17:18:56Z

By STEVE KRASKE

The Kansas City Star

Reactions were rolling in Monday night to the passing of long-time former Missouri Congressman Ike Skelton of Lexington:

• Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon: “A role model to whom I had the honor of presenting Missouri’s highest military honor, the Conspicuous Service Medal, Ike Skelton inspired us all with his quiet dignity and tireless commitment to America’s men and women in uniform. A friend to Missourians, Americans and liberty-loving people worldwide, Congressman Skelton embodied the true meaning of public service and will forever be remembered as a leader who left a legacy of greater prosperity and security for his district, our state and our nation.”

• Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt: “No member of the Congress was more dedicated to America's defense and those who defend us than Ike Skelton. He loved our country and its history and will be remembered for his contributions to both.”

• House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland: “Ike was an incredible soul, a caring man who loved service and championed all who gave of themselves for their country and communities. He served our men and women in uniform with distinction as Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and his visits to spend time with our troops on base and in the field were among his most cherished.”

• Missouri Democratic Party chairman Roy Temple: “He was a Missourian, a statesman and a champion of a strong and sensible national defense. And above all, he was a gentleman. His love of and faith in America was unshakable and his support for the U.S. military was second to none. This is a loss for Missouri and the nation.”

• General Services Administration head Jason Klumb: “Ike personified what is great about America. He overcame tremendous adversity, achieved bipartisan respect and consensus, and remains a modern `great strategic thinker’ in military circles. There is no doubt we are a better nation because of Ike's service.”

• Retired Associated Press reporter Scott Charton, who helped Skelton write his memoir: “From his boyhood Ike wanted to serve in the military. But on Sunday, Nov. 10, 1946, his parents found him collapsed after he felt progressively worse the prior day on a school band trip. The diagnosis was polio, the same illness that affected President Franklin Roosevelt, who was Ike’s hero.

“For a time, 14-year-old Ike lost the use of both of his arms, and he never regained use of the left. But surgery allowed creation of a bicep for his right arm, which meant he had use of his right hand, which meant he could write, type, handle the phone and, critical for a politician, shake hands. With his easy style and warmth, Ike was a gentle man and a gentleman. He found his calling in public service.

“At the time of his final term, Ike was the only sitting member of Congress who had been personally urged to run by Harry Truman. Ike shook hands with the powerful but he never forgot where he came from, returning to Missouri many weekends.”

• Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler who defeated Skelton in 2010: “I am deeply saddened at the passing of my predecessor and respected friend, Ike Skelton. I have appreciated our conversations over the past two and a half years and the commitment we shared to see Missouri's 4th District prosper. I am thankful for Ike's tireless efforts on behalf of our men and women in uniform and know our country is safer as a result of his unwavering leadership.”

• Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders: “I am particularly honored that one of his last public appearances came when Jackson County dedicated the Historic Truman Courthouse in Independence this past September. Congressman Skelton resembled President Truman in so many ways, both in his passion for our nation’s military and to serving the citizens of Missouri.”

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