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judges at one time, which gave us a unique perspective on government, individuals, and human nature in general.
JOHN CORNELIUS STENNIS was born on August 3, 1901, in Kemper County, in the red clay hills of eastern Mississippi. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from what is now Mississippi State University in 1923 and 4 years later, received his law degree from the University of Virginia. Just 1 year later, he was elected to the Mississippi Legislature. He later went on to serve as a district prosecuting attorney and circuit judge.
After 10 years on the bench, he ran in 1947 for the Senate seat held by the flamboyant Senator Theodore G. Bilbo and was elected over five opponents in November. His campaign theme was "I want to plow a straight furrow right down to the end of my row," and that philosophy guided the rest of his career in public service.
Until his last campaign, in 1982, he was never seriously challenged for reelection. Even then, facing future Republican National Committee Chairman Haley Barbour, then only 34, he won by a 2-to-1 margin.
In his early days in the Senate, JOHN would work 16 hours a day, staying in the Senate until it adjourned and then studying in the Library of Congress. He was meticulous in his work, someone who would go over something again and again until he finally mastered its complexities. He was a commanding presence in the Senate Chamber, where his voice carried such resonance. Even after we had microphones, he would often speak without one.
JOHN STENNIS served in the Senate longer than all but one other person in its history. When he retired on January 3, 1989, he had served for 41 years, 1 month, and 29 days. During the 1960's and 1970's, he was the most influential voice in Congress on military affairs. He was chairman of the Appropriations Committee, and was instrumental in the development of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, which was extremely important to both our States economically. He changed with the times, and began to support civil rights measures. Due to his integrity, diligence, and judgment, he was often called upon to investigate controversial political matters. It became routine to refer to him as the conscience of the Senate. He was a patriarch and teacher to younger Members.
In his later years, while his voice remained clear and his mind sharp, he experienced serious physical problems. He was shot and seriously wounded by a burglar at his home in 1973, and had a leg amputated in 1984 due to cancer, but
each time, he returned to his beloved Senate much sooner than had been expected.
After he retired, Senator STENNIS moved to Mississippi State University campus, home of the John C. Stennis Institute of Government and the John C. Stennis Center for Public Service, created by Congress to train young leaders. In one of his last interviews, he said, “I do believe the most important thing I can do now is to help young people understand the past and prepare for the future."
At that birthday celebration for JOHN STENNIS a decade ago, I had the honor and pleasure of speaking. I ended my speech with an old Irish prayer, which goes:
May the road rise to meet you.
And may the Good Lord hold you in the hollow of his hand during the remainder of your days. He was a deeply religious man, and he told me he was particularly glad I used the prayer as a closing on that occasion.
JOHN STENNIS' days are now over, and his passing gives us reason to pause, reflect, and remember that this body is a decidedly better institution, and the United States a better nation, for having had the benefit of this statesman's service for so many years.
THURSDAY, May 4, 1995.
Mr. JOHNSTON. Mr. President, I would like to take a few minutes to comment on the life and career of our departed colleague and my good friend, Senator JOHN C. STENNIS, whose long and full life ended on Sunday, April 23, at the age of 93.
When Senator STENNIS retired in January 1989, he had been in the Senate 41 years, 1 month, and 29 days. This made his service in the Senate longer than all but one other person in history.
When I came to the U.S. Senate in November 1972, Senator STENNIS had been a Member of this body for nearly 25 years, and I had the great honor and privilege of serving with Senator STENNIS for 16 years—until he retired at the close of the 100th Congress in 1989. So it is with sadness that I pay tribute to the memory of this departed colleague today.
JOHN STENNIS was a man who anyone coming to know him well would love and admire. I came to know him early on my arrival in the Senate. He was from my neighboring State, and I learned to follow his advice and leadership in certain areas of our service together.
It was also my privilege to serve with JOHN STENNIS on the Appropriations Committee beginning in 1975. We had nearly identical subcommittee assignments on the committee. He was chairman of the then Public Works Subcommittee, now the Energy and Water Subcommittee, when I came aboard and I succeeded him as chairman of that subcommittee when he became chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee in 1978. We worked together on many matters of mutual interest, especially the Mississippi River and tributaries flood control works, and other infrastructure improvements throughout the country. He requested my assistance on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway project and I was pleased to help floor manage the successful completion of that massive project which opened in 1985. The New York Times called the Tenn-Tom Senator STENNIS' “pyramid,” and I am pleased to have had a role with Senator STENNIS on this impressive project.
Mr. President, in our committee assignments and work together, I was blessed as much as a fellow Senator could be blessed by association, counsel, and advice from our departed friend.
As I mentioned earlier, it has been my honor and privilege to be closely associated with Senator STENNIS for over 16 years of service together. As chairman and ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, Senator STENNIS designated and commissioned me to floor manage and handle various appropriations measures including supplemental bills and continuing resolutions. He was my chairman, and I was always happy and enthusiastic to carry out his wishes on these matters.
Mr. President, JOHN STENNIS was unqualifiedly and unreservedly a gentleman in the finest American tradition. He was a man whose word was as good as his bond. He had an almost reverent sense of discretion and personal taste in his relations to the greatest affairs of the Nation as in his relations to individuals. He was indeed a giant in the Senate.
JOHN STENNIS was a Senator's Senator. He was gentle and courteous in conduct, but tough and strong in conviction and
character. He personified the highest ideals of honor and integrity within the Senate.
JOHN STENNIS also possessed an extraordinary, and indomitable, fortitude, spirit, and fearless courage. I think of the several personal adversities he confronted with such wonderful dignity and demeanor. In 1973, he was shot by robbers in front of his house and left for dead. In 1983, his beloved wife of 52 years, he called her Miss Coy, passed away. In 1984, he lost a leg to cancer and was confined thereafter to a wheelchair but, Senator STENNIS bore these adversities with such great strength and courage that he served as a great inspiration to us all.
We are thankful for his character, for his modesty and selflessness, for his devotion to the Senate and his family, for his outgoing good will to his friends, for his high honor as
Mr. President, I traveled with a number of my colleagues to the burial services for Senator STENNIS on Wednesday, April 26, at the Pinecrest Cemetery in DeKalb, Mississippi. He was born in DeKalb County in the red clay hills of eastern Mississippi and his mortal remains were buried there in the family plot next to his beloved “Miss Coy' and near his parents. Many of the Stennis' buried there were known as professional people doctors, lawyers, teachers, and legislators. I was deeply impressed with the tribute given Senator STENNIS by his son, John Hampton Stennis. He stated Senator STENNIS' campaign pledge and creed when Senator STENNIS ran for the Senate in 1947, after having served as a circuit court judge for 10 years. That political creed was "I want to plow a straight furrow right down until the end of my row.” Obviously, Senator STENNIS succeeded with that campaign pledge. And that philosophy seems to have guided his entire political career and his life. With those words John Hampton captured the spirit and philosophy of JOHN C. STENNIS.
Senator STENNIS taught through example. He was left both a challenge and a pattern of conduct for citizenship, as well as public life.
What can our citizens today find in JOHN C. STENNIS to emulate? A course of conduct that inspires confidence; absolute personal dedication; noble purposes always foremost as a motive and objective; standards in public and private life unexcelled; a willingness to serve; a willingness to lead and endlessly carry the penalty of leadership, and above all else, the attainment of being an honorable man.
I believe we find here a man and a record that fully live up to the everlasting call of the poet, Gilbert Holland, who said:
God, give us men! A time like this demands
In public duty and in private thinking.
Mr. SIMPSON. Mr. President, I just want to say a few words about two U.S. Senators, one recently deceased and one recently embarked on a spirited new part of life, both of them dear friends of mine Senator JOHN STENNIS of Mississippi and Senator David Pryor of Arkansas.
Mr. President, Senator STENNIS served with my father in the U.S. Senate. My father, Milward L. Simpson of Wyoming, served here from 1962 until 1966. He was a former Governor of Wyoming from 1954 until 1958, then came to the U.S. Senate, elected to fulfill a 4-year term, or remaining 4-year term, of a young man who had been elected to the Senate and died before he was sworn in. JOHN STENNIS and Mrs. Stennis immediately greeted my father when he came here in the most cordial way. They were very dear friends of my parents.
I must say that the philosophy of the western Senator, my father, and the southern gentleman, the Senator from Mississippi, were much the same with regard to national defense, fiscal matters, issues of substance in the social area, of the fabric of the country, and they became fast friends. I recall very distinctly my father called JOHN STENNIS "Mr. Integrity.”
My father invited JOHN STENNIS, Senator Willis Robertson, and two other persons to Wyoming. I recall very distinctly, I was a young man practicing law in Cody Wyoming, and they asked me to join them. Dad took his two Senate