Even though he lived a very long time, I was saddened to learn of George Longmire’s death this morning. He died Sunday at a Chaska, Minnesota retirement home at the age of 96.
He served in the North Dakota state Senate from 1957 until 1973. He was senate majority leader in 1969.
George was one of the first people I interviewed as a (fairly) young WDAZ reporter in 1975. He was a legend by then and very, very difficult not to like.
With his silver hair and deep, resonate voice, he always reminded me of U.S. Senator Everett Dirkson who had a second career and won a Grammy Award for his recording of patriotic monologues. George could have been an actor, or a television news anchor, at the very least. Originally from Tennessee, he never rushed his speeches. He was also very funny.
He was a lawyer and a Republican who served as chairman of the party during the 1950′s. During World War II, he was an FBI agent. He was a former States Attorney, a member of the American and North Dakota Bar Association and he served on the board of the Grand Forks Mission. He was a Lion, an Elk and a Mason. I’m leaving out a lot of stuff.
Ginny remembers him raising hell (the good kind) in the pool during water aerobics years after his retirement.
He was something.
A memorial service is being held Sunday in Sorrento, Italy. A celebration of life service will be held at United Church of Christ (formerly the Federated Church) in Grand Forks on Sunday, May 27th. The time of the service will be announced later.