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"His service to this state was long and faithful and he enjoyed national prominence as well.”

Former Mississippi Governor William Winter, 72, called STENNIS a “political hero."

"He represented what I thought a political leader ought to be," said Winter, who worked for STENNIS as a legislative assistant in the early 1950s and was governor from 1980 to 1984.

The Senator's body will lie in state Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson and from 4-6 p.m. at DeKalb Presbyterian Church in DeKalb. Graveside services will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Pinecrest Cemetery in DeKalb.

STENNIS, revered as “Mr. Integrity,” and “The Judge,” overcame personal tragedy to continue public service. He survived a near-fatal attack by gunmen who attempted to rob him in front of his Washington home on January 30, 1973. The gunmen shot him twice in the abdomen and left him to die. He was 71 at the time and his recovery included a hospital stay of more than 4 months.

Coy Hines Stennis, his wife of 52 years, died in 1983. In 1984, he lost his left leg to cancer.

As chairman of both the Armed Services Committee and the Defense Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee during the 1970s, STENNIS wielded immeasurable influence.

STENNIS was by no means a traditionalist in Southern politics. His 1947 special-election campaign to fill the unexpired term of the late Senator Theodore G. Bilbo's seat differed radically from the type to which Southerners had become accustomed. He did not mention his opponents or hurl accusations at them.

He was best known in the Senate press gallery for his booming baritone, which often was heard crying, “Mr. President, may we have order?” The request usually resulted in an instant hush.

STENNIS had a mixed record on equal rights. He condemned the Supreme Court's 1954 school desegregation decision, and in 1975 he voted against extending the Voting Rights Act. But in 1983 he switched and voted for its extension.

He later said he always supported the advancement of all races. He argued that the 1954 ruling had forced the South to desegregate its schools but not the North.

The so-called STENNIS Amendment, passed in 1972, requires school desegregation policies to be “applied uniformly in all regions of the United States."

In the 1975 debate over the Voting Rights Act, STENNIS renewed his theme against regionalized federal laws. He called the law "a monstrosity which never should have been passed,” and added, “if we are to have such a law, it should be applicable nationwide and not just to seven states chosen on the basis of arbitrary criteria designed to ensure their inclusion.”

The Voting Rights Act, first enacted in 1965, applies only to Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia,

South Carolina, Virginia and 39 counties in North Carolina.

A former staff assistant to STENNIS, Ed Cole, who is black, said STENNIS did not object to equal rights for all races but to the working of the Voting Rights Act extension and the idea that the law would apply only to the South.

STENNIS was born on August 3, 1901, the son of Hampton Howell Stennis and Cornelia Adams Stennis. He graduated from Mississippi State Univer

sity in 1923 and received his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1928.

He entered Mississippi politics sickly thereafter, serving in the state House of Representatives from 1928 to 1932 before joining the district attorney's office.

STENNIS was prosecuting attorney for the 16th Judicial District from 1931 to 1937 and a circuit court judge until 1947.

STENNIS was first elected November 4, 1947, in that special election to fill Bilbo's unexpired term. He was overwhelmingly re-elected in 1952, 1958, 1964, 1970, 1976 and 1982, when he indicated to supporters that he was running his last political campaign. He never lost an election.

In 1929, he married the former Coy Hines of New Albany, MS. The couple lived simply in a two-story Northwest Washington home. They rarely went out and occasionally on Saturday mornings, she would prepare one of his favorite meals: country ham and eggs with cornbread and melted cheese.

His wife's death was a crushing loss for the Senator.

"She always carried her part of the load and was a great help to me,” STENNIS said at the time.

In 1965, STENNIS was given the chairmanship of the newly formed Senate Ethics Committee. The panel's first unpleasant duty was the case of Senator Thomas Dodd (D-CT), who was accused of campaign fund finagling. STENNIS and the committee went to great lengths to give Dodd, now deceased, a chance to defend himself, but in the end, recommended censure.

Senator Mark Hatfield (R-OR), later remarked, “Some of us freshmen were sitting around once during the Dodd hearings and we agreed that if we found ourselves charged with some terrible crime and if we could pick our judge, we'd pick JOHN STENNIS to judge us.”

In 1954, during STENNIS's first full term, the Mississippian became the first Democrat to ask for censure of the late Senator Joseph R. McCarthy (R-WI). If the Senate approved of McCarthy's tactics in hunting Communists and other subversives, said STENNIS, “something big and fine will have gone from this chamber."

STENNIS used his respect and standing among his colleagues to battle for the preservation of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway project. In 1980, he called in his markers from other Senators, asking them to vote to maintain funding levels on the $1.8 billion project.

STENNIS was largely successful in his efforts, despite considerable carping from Senators who called the project one of the greatest pork-barrel schemes in history.

In 1974 when President Richard Nixon's administration was foundering in the Watergate morass, STENNIS praised Nixon as a "courageous President” citing Nixon's successes in foreign policy.

A pillar in the Presbyterian Church, STENNIS founded in the Senate what became known as the “Wednesday morning prayer breakfast group.” It consisted of 20 Senators, Democrats and Republicans, who have breakfast and hold informal religious observances when the Senate is in session.

The Senator, who rarely missed a Senate session because of illness, maintained his weight at a trim 175 pounds. STENNIS generally shunned Washington's cocktail circuit, but enjoyed an occasional scotch and soda. He also loved baseball, and before the old Washington Senators fled to Dallas, he often would slip out to the ball park.

After his retirement, 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.

Mississippi State University created the John C. Stennis Chair of Political Science in 1971 with funds donated by the Senator and his friends. Many of his personal letters and public papers are housed at the university's library.

STENNIS held several honorary degrees and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Alpha Delta (legal) and Alpha Gamma Rho fraternities. He was a Presbyterian, a Mason and a member of the Lions Club and the Mississippi and American bar associations.

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,” STENNIS said in a 1985 interview. “You couldn't give me a finer compliment than just to say, 'He did his best.""

STENNIS left politics though because “he knew when it was time for him to leave,” Cole said.

"He was a proud man” and disliked depending on people for help because of his health.

He was troubled about having only one leg because "he couldn't stand when ladies entered the room,” Cole said. “That was a great concern to him.”

STENNIS is survived by his son, John Hampton Stennis, a Jackson lawyer, and his daughter, Margaret Womble. The family reguests that any donations be made to an educational, charitable or religious group.

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(From the Chicago Tribune, April 24, 1995]

FORMER MISSISSIPPI SENATOR JOHN STENNIS

(By Associated Press)

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.

Senator 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.

Senator 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.

Senator 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 Nixon, emerging from STENNIS' hospital room after the attack, 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.

Senator 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.

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 U.S. Embassy and held its employees hostage in late 1979, Senator STENNIS suggested 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 Senator STENNIS called for U.S. military support bases near Mideast oil fields.

Though he stood for a tough military, he 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 Presidents power to commit U.S.forces to combat without Congressional consent.

A decade later, Senator 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 voted for an extension of the Voting Rights Act. He later said he always supported the advancement of all races.

JOHN 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 and then served as a district attorney and circuit judge before joining the U.S. Senate.

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

[From the Charleston Daily Mail, April 24, 1995)

Ex-MISSISSIPPI SENATOR DIES

(Editorial)

JACKSON, MSJOHN CORNELIUS STENNIS, a Mississippi Democrat who trained generations of Senators in the ways of Washington, opposed virtually all civil rights legislation and staunchly supported the Vietnam War, has died. He was 93.

STENNIS died Sunday at St. Dominic Hospital, where he had been taken several days ago for pneumonia, said his son John Hampton Stennis.

During 41 years in the Senate, STENNIS earned a reputation for fairness and finesse that landed him delicate committee assignments and close associations with eight U.S. Presidents.

"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).

As chairman of both the Senate Armed Services Committee and theDefense Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee in the 1970s, STENNIS wielded more clout over military matters than perhaps any civilian but the President.

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

When he retired in 1988, STENNIS was the Senate's oldest member, and had served longer than all but one other—Carl Hayden of Arizona, who retired in 1969.

STENNIS was born August 3, 1901, in DeKalb 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.

STENNIS' body will lie in state Tuesday at the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson and later at the DeKalb Presbyterian Church. Graveside services will be Wednesday at Pinecrest Cemetery in DeKalb, his hometown.

[From the Austin American-Statesman, April 24, 1995)

FORMER SENATOR JOHN STENNIS OF MISSISSIPPI DIES AT 93

(Editorial)

JACKSON, MS—Former Senator JOHN STENNIS, a 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. CDT 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 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 Thai Cochran (R-MS).

STENNIS overcame personal tragedy to continue public service.

He was wounded by robbers and left bleeding on the sidewalk in Washington in 1973. President Nixon, emerging from STENNIS' hospital room, said the Senator would survive because “he's got the will to live in spades."

Coy Stennis, his wife of 52 years, died in 1983. In 1984, he lost his left leg to cancer.

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

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.

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

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