Tags: Former | Sen. | Strom | Thurmon | Dies | 100

Former Sen. Strom Thurmon Dies at 100

Friday, 27 June 2003 12:00 AM

Thurmond's death was announced to his former colleagues by Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., who interrupted Senate debate on a Medicare bill to salute a man he called "a close friend." Thurmond had decided not to seek another term last fall and left the Senate in January.

"Strom Thurmond will forever be a symbol of what one person can accomplish when they live life, as we all know he did, to the fullest," Frist said before leading the Senate in a moment of silence.

"He had enthusiasm and passion like no one I've ever met in my life," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who replaced Thurmond in the Senate. "South Carolina's favorite son is gone, but he'll never be forgotten."

He had been living in a hospital in Edgefield. Frail and wheelchair-bound in his final years, Thurmond was a robust man for decades, proud of his ability to do dozens of pushups and harsh on aides who pursued unhealthy practices such as smoking.

"Surrounded by family, my father was resting comfortably, without pain, and in total peace," older son Strom Thurmond Jr. said in a statement.

Thurmond was a former state legislator, circuit judge, governor and a decorated veteran of World War II. He was a conservative icon for whom the key issues were national defense, fiscal responsibility, support for the family and strong law enforcement.

"Far from a political wallflower, he was a populist firebrand famous for his defense of segregation and opposition to the civil rights movement. Running for the presidency as a States' Rights Democrat, or 'Dixiecrat,' in 1948, he declared that, 'all the laws of Washington, and all the bayonets of the Army, cannot force the Negro into our homes, our schools, our churches and our places of recreation,'" Fox News reported.

"However, after the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1965, Thurmond's politics shifted with the growing number of black voters. Having switched to the Republican party one year earlier, he found federal money to provide services for his black constituents, and became the first Southern senator to hire black staff members — in 1971 — and appoint blacks to high positions."

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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Thurmond's death was announced to his former colleagues by Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., who interrupted Senate debate on a Medicare bill to salute a man he called "a close friend." Thurmond had decided not to seek another term last fall and left the Senate in...
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Friday, 27 June 2003 12:00 AM
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