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He was the last of the true Southern Democratic barons to many. Despite physical ailments, he would arrive at his Capitol office about 8 a.m. and remain at the Capitol until the Senate adjourned for the day. Quiet and frail, he struggled out of his wheelchair to address the Senate or when he met a lady.

He also relished looking out for Mississippi. He would remark with pride on his role in securing the construction of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, which was opposed by nearly everyone not living in Mississippi and was a mark of his clout.

JOHN CORNELIUS STENNIS was born August 3, 1901, on a farm in Kemper County, MS, the youngest of seven children. He graduated from what is now Mississippi State University and the University of Virginia law school. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

After graduating from law school in 1928, he began the private practice of law in DeKalb and won election to the State House of Representatives. In 1931, he became a district attorney. He was appointed a State circuit court judge in 1937 and held that post until entering the Senate. He won a special election on November 4, 1947, to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Senator Theodore G. Bilbo (D).

In a 1985 interview, Senator STENNIS said: "How would I like to be remembered? I haven't thought about that a whole lot. You couldn't give me a finer compliment than just to say, 'He did his best."

Senator STENNIS's wife of 52 years, Coy Hines Stennis, died in 1983. Survivors include a son and a daughter.

(From the Phoenix Gazette, April 24, 1995)

Ex-SENATOR FROM MISSISSIPPI DIES AT 93; STENNIS WIELDED CLOUT OVER

U.S. MILITARY AFFAIRS

(Editorial) Former Senator JOHN STENNIS, a courtly Mississippi Democrat who exercised vast influence over America's military during his four decades in the Senate, died Sunday. He was 93.

STENNIS died about 3:30 p.m. at St. Dominic Hospital, where he had been taken several days ago for pneumonia, said his son John Hampton Stennis.

STENNIS earned a reputation in Washington for fairness and finesse that landed him delicate committee assignments and close association with eight Presidents. But his opposition to integration blotted his record.

STENNIS joined the Senate in 1947. At the time of his retirement in 1988, he was its oldest member.

"He was a great Senator in every way. He was effective, respected and deeply appreciated by the people in Mississippi,” said U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS). “He was truly a man of great stature. We have suffered a great loss."

STENNIS, nicknamed the “conscience of the Senate" for his work on the Senate's code of ethics and strict religious convictions, overcame tragedy to continue service.

He was wounded by robbers near his Washington home in 1973.

Coy Hines Stennis, his wife of 52 years, died in 1983. And in 1984, he lost his left leg to cancer, and had to use a wheelchair.

"Discouraged? I suppose everybody's had his ups and downs. But I've never surrendered,” STENNIS said then.

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STENNIS, serving as chairman of both the Armed Services Committee and the Defense Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee during the 1970s, wielded more clout over military matters than perhaps any civilian except the President.

Though he stood for a tough military, STENNIS did not always back Presidential military policy.

He was a leading backer of the Vietnam War. However, in the war's waning days, he co-sponsored legislation to set limits on a President's power to commit American forces to combat without Congressional consent.

He condemned the Supreme Court's 1954 school desegregation decision, but in 1983 he switched and voted for an extension of the Voting Rights Act.

Survivors include his son, a Jackson lawyer, and his daughter, Margaret Womble.

[From the Bergen New Jersey Record, April 24, 1995)

JOHN STENNIS, FORMER SENATOR

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(By the News Service Reports) Former Senator JOHN C. STENNIS (D-MS), a deeply religious defense hawk who served four decades in the Senate and exercised a major influence on U.S. military policy, died of pneumonia Sunday afternoon in Jackson, MS. He was 93.

Nicknamed the “Conscience of the Senate” for his personal rectitude and his efforts to shape the Senate's code of ethics, he entered the Senate in 1947 and retired in 1988. Senator STENNIS had undergone cardiovascular surgery in 1983 and a year later had his left leg amputated because of a malignant tumor in his upper thigh.

As chairman of the Senate Armed Services committee for 12 years, beginning in 1969, Senator STENNIS played a key role in fighting deep cuts in the defense budget. He opposed judicial efforts to desegregate public schools in 1954, but three decades later he supported extending the Voting Rights Act.

Close to eight Presidents, Senator STENNIS was the last of the classic Southern gentlemen who so forcefully shaped the character of the mid-century Senate. He was crusty yet courtly, a stern moralist and a man of impeccable integrity with an almost mystical devotion to the Senate.

“He was a great Senator in every way. He was effective, respected, and deeply appreciated by the people in Mississippi,” Senator Thad Cochran (RMS), said Sunday. “He was truly a man of great stature.”

Senator STENNIS himself was more modest about his place in history.

"How would I like to be remembered? I haven't thought about that a whole lot,” he mused in a 1985 interview. "You couldn't give me a finer compliment than just to say, He did his best.”

Testament to his grit were two events that involved personal adversity. In 1973, while walking near his Washington home, he was shot and left for dead by robbers. In 1984, after losing his leg to cancer, he could return to work only in a wheelchair. On both occasions, he went back to work well before his physicians thought it likely and returned to standing ovations from his Senate colleagues.

Senator STENNIS displayed a different kind of toughness in 1954, when he served on the Select Committee that probed charges against the late Senator Joseph R. McCarthy (R-WI), and became the first Senate Democrat to call for censure of the Wisconsin Senator. Though Senator STENNIS was a

dedicated conservative, he was offended by McCarthy's tactics in pursuit of ever-elusive communists.

During the censure debate, Senator STENNIS rallied support from many colleagues who had been afraid to attack McCarthy. In a vigorous speech, he accused McCarthy of besmirching the Senate's good name with “slush and slime.”

That same year, 1954, Senator STENNIS was one of the first members of Congress to caution against U.S. involvement in Indochina.

In a Senate speech delivered when the Eisenhower Administration was considering intervention to prevent a French disaster in Vietnam, Senator STENNIS presciently warned that committing U.S. ground forces could lead to “a long, costly, and indecisive war."

Yet 11 years later, when President Lyndon Johnson made a large-scale commitment to fight in Vietnam, Senator STENNIS loyally backed his commander in chief. “Once the die is cast and once our flag is committed and our boys are sent out to the field, you will find solid support for the war from the South," he said.

He also firmly backed defense spending throughout his career, supporting the Pentagon even when the Vietnam War made weapons procurement unpopular. “If there is one thing I'm unyielding and unbending on, it is that we must have the very best weapons,” he once said.

Senate liberals clashed frequently with Senator STENNIS on subjects ranging from defense spending to civil rights, but they invariably praised him for his fairness and courtesy.

He was an author of the 1954 “Southern Manifesto," which denounced the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that outlawed racial segregation in public schools, and voted against all civil rights legislation until 1982, when he announced his support for extension of the Voting Rights Act. He opposed civil rights with some decorum, unlike his less-restrained longtime Senate colleague from Mississippi, James O. Eastland.

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[From the Rocky Mountain News, April 24, 1995)

"CONSCIENCE OF SENATE” DIES

(By the Associated Press)

Former Senator JOHN C. STENNIS a courtly Mississippi Democrat who exercised vast influence over America's military during his four decades in the Senate, died Sunday.

STENNIS, 93, died around 3:30 p.m. at St. Dominic Hospital, where he had been taken several days ago for pneumonia, said his son, John Hampton Stennis.

STENNIS joined the Senate in 1947. At the time of his retirement in 1988, he was its oldest member. He was nicknamed the “conscience of the Senate" for his work on the Senate's code of ethics and his strict religious convictions.

Serving as chairman of the Armed Services Committee and the Appropriations Committee's Defense Subcommittee in the 1970s, STENNIS wielded more clout over military matters than perhaps any civilian except the President.

He was a consistent advocate of the need for a strong military.

"Trouble can come from anywhere," he once said. “We've got to be ready for instant action.”

STENNIS did not always back Presidential military policy. He was a leading backer of the Vietnam War, but in the war's waning days, he co-sponsored legislation to set limits on a President's power to commit U.S. forces to combat without congressional consent.

A decade later, STENNIS opposed using that law—the War Powers Act of 1973—to permit President Reagan to keep Marine peacekeeping troops in Lebanon.

[From the New Jersey Bergen Record, April 24, 1995]

FORMER SENATOR STENNIS; AT 93; HELD MISSISSIPPI SEAT FOR FOUR

DECADES

(By the Wire Service)

Former Senator JOHN C. STENNIS, a courtly Mississippi Democrat who exercised vast influence over America's military during his four decades in the U.S. Senate, died Sunday. He was 93.

Mr. STENNIS died about 3:30 p.m. at St. Dominic Hospital, where he had been taken several days ago for treatment of pneumonia, said his son, John Hampton Stennis.

Mr. STENNIS earned a reputation in Washington for fairness and finesse that landed him delicate committee assignments and close association with eight U.S. Presidents. But his opposition to integration blotted his record.

He joined the Senate in 1947. At the time of his retirement in 1988, he was its oldest member.

Mr. STENNIS, nicknamed the "conscience of the Senate" for his work on the Senate's code of ethics and his strict religious convictions, overcame personal tragedy to continue public service.

He was wounded by robbers and left bleeding on the sidewalk near his northwest Washington home in 1973. President Richard M. Nixon, emerging from Mr. STENNIS' hospital room, said the Senator would survive because, "He's got the will to live in spades.”

Coy Hines Stennis, his wife of 52 years, died in 1983. And in 1984, he lost his left leg to cancer, and had to use a wheelchair.

“Discouraged? I suppose everybody's had his ups and downs. But I've never surrendered,” he said then.

Mr. STENNIS, serving as chairman of both the Armed Services Committee and the Defense Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee during the 1970's, wielded more clout over military matters than perhaps any civilian except the President.

He was a consistent advocate of the need for a strong military.

“If there is one thing I'm unyielding and unbending on, it is that we must have the very best weapons," he once said.

After militants in Iran seized the American Embassy and held its employees hostage in late 1979, Mr. STENNIS suggested that a fleet of small aircraft carriers be built to counter such crises around the world.

"Trouble can come from anywhere now," he said. “We've got to be ready for instant action.".

Soon after, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and Mr. STENNIS called for U.S. military support bases near Mideast oil fields.

Though he stood for a tough military, Mr. STENNIS did not always back presidential military policy.

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He was a leading backer of the Vietnam War. However, in the war's waning days, he co-sponsored legislation to set limits on a President's power to commit American forces to combat without congressional consent.

A decade later, Mr. STENNIS opposed using that law, the War Powers Act of 1973, to permit President Ronald Reagan to keep Marine peacekeeping troops in Lebanon.

He condemned the Supreme Court's 1954 school desegregation decision, but in 1983 he switched and voted for an extension of the Voting Rights Act.

He later said he always supported the advancement of all races.

Mr. STENNIS was born August 3, 1901, in DeKalb, MS, and graduated from Mississippi State University in 1923 before attending the University of Virginia Law School.

He began his public service in 1928 in the Mississippi Legislature, then served as a district attorney and circuit judge before joining the U.S. Senate.

After his retirement, Mr. STENNIS moved to the Mississippi State University campus in Starkville, which also is the home of the John C. Stennis Institute of Government and the Stennis Center for Public Service, created by Congress.

“I do believe the most important thing I can do now is to help young people understand the past and prepare for the future,” Mr. STENNIS said in 1990 while serving as executive in residence at the university. “As long as I have energy left, I want to use it to the benefit of students.”

Also named for the Senator is NASA's National Space Technology Laboratory in southern Mississippi. The John C. Stennis Space Center tests rocket motors.

"How would I like to be remembered? I haven't thought about that a whole lot,” Mr. STENNIS said in a 1985 interview. “You couldn't give me a finer compliment than just to say, He did his best.

(From the Rhode Island Providence Journal-Bulletin, April 24, 1995) Ex-SENATOR JOHN STENNIS, 93 DIES; SERVED IN CONGRESS FOR 41 YEARS

(By Associated Press)

Former Senator JOHN C. STENNIS, 93, a courtly Mississippi Democrat who exercised vast influence over America's military during his four decades in the Senate, died yesterday at St. Dominic Hospital, where he had been taken several days ago for pneumonia.

STENNIS earned a reputation in Washington for fairness and finesse that landed him delicate committee assignments and close association with eight U.S. Presidents. But his opposition to integration blotted his record.

STENNIS joined the Senate in 1947. At the time of his retirement in 1988, he was its oldest member.

“He was a great Senator in every way. He was effective, respected and deeply appreciated by the people in Mississippi,” said U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS). "He was truly a man of great stature. We have suffered a great loss.”

STENNIS, nicknamed the “conscience of the Senate” for his work on the Senate's code of ethics and strict religious convictions, overcame personal tragedy to continue public service.

He was wounded by robbers and left bleeding on the sidewalk near his northwest Washington home in 1973. Then-President Richard M. Nixon,

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