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Former Gov. Whitcomb honored at Statehouse service

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A memorial service was held on Friday for former Indiana Gov. Edgar Whitcomb, who died last week at the age of 98.

Gov. Mike Pence, Brian Bosma and Adjutant General Corey Carr spoke at the service inside the Indiana Statehouse. The tributes came from politicians but Whitcomb may be best remembered for the life he lived outside of government.

Funeral services for Whitcomb were last Sunday, in Whitcomb’s hometown of Hayden, Indiana in Jennings County.

Whitcomb served as governor from 1969 to 1973. During World War II he was held prisoner on two occasions, escaping twice.

After retiring he sailed around the world by himself in a 30-foot boat. He spent his final years living in a cabin on the Ohio River.

Two years ago, he married his second wife Evelyn.

Former Secretary of State Ed Simcox remembered Ed Whitcomb as a mentor and a friend.

“He was a man of his word,” said Simcox. “He was a man of integrity and courage.”

Governor Mike Pence was the featured speaker and he talked about Whitcomb’s love of sailing.

“And to my predecessor and my friend I say sail on, sail on, Governor Whitcomb and know that we here in Indiana will never forget your service,” he said. “We will never forget your smile and we will never fail to be inspired by your life and your courage.”

House Speaker Brian Bosma shared that his father, a Whitcomb friend, insisted that he read the book that the former governor wrote about being a prisoner of war for three years.

“Not just the book but Ed Whitcomb is a remarkable story,” said Bosma, “because he was a remarkable man, a soldier, an author, an adventurer, a public servant but most importantly a true Hoosier hero that will be greatly missed.”

The service for Whitcomb on Friday included a 19-round cannon salute, as part of military honors.