Phyllis Pond, a 35-year veteran of the Indiana House of Representatives and the chambers longest serving female lawmaker, died Sunday at the age of 82.
Pond, R-New Haven, was the longest serving female state representative in the history of Indiana and was the first female lawmaker to earn a seat in the front row of the Republican side of the House – a row reserved for House leaders or representatives with the most seniority.
Pond lived with her husband, George, in New Haven. She has three children.
In recent years she had significant health problems, with several stints in the hospital requiring her to use an oxygen device at all times. She was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis and decided not to return for the 2014 session.
In August, Pond submitted a letter of resignation, effective Oct. 15.
Pond is a retired East Allen County Schools kindergarten teacher with a bachelors degree from Ball State University and a masters from Indiana University.
She spent much of her 35 years in the Indiana General Assembly working to improve the quality of education and services provided to the residents of Allen and DeKalb counties.
She was first elected to the Indiana House in 1978, and served on several key committees over the years including Education, Judiciary and the budget-writing Ways and Means.
She worked on many key pieces of legislation to improve Hoosiers livelihood and education. She was the original author of the Primetime educational bill to lower class sizes to 18 in kindergarten through third grade.
Today, the State of Indiana mourns the loss of a leader and a friend to all Hoosiers. Phyllis was a revered colleague, a strong voice for her district and a compassionate conservative who always stood by her principles, said House Speaker Brian C. Bosma, R-Indianapolis.
Throughout her time as a public servant, Pond remained connected to her community through activities such as the New Haven Womens Club; National Order of Women Legislators; Biomedical Services of the American Red Cross; and as a precinct committeeman.
Rep. Martin Carbaugh, R-Fort Wayne, said Pond always showed passion for the issues and was dedicated to her responsibilities as a state lawmaker.
Even when her health wasnt great, she participated in caucus and talked to me about my bills and the ones she cared about, Carbaugh said. Her contribution and what she has done for women in politics and the love she has shown for kids in our area is amazing.
Pond was a great stateswoman and public servant, Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn said.
Phyllis helped Hoosiers for many years. I am glad to have had the chance to know her and I appreciate all she did for Indiana, Smaltz said.
For her last few years as a state legislator, Pond cast her votes with a ruler, allowing her to reach across the desk to push the buttons – something she said she couldnt believe took her 30 years to realize.
Phyllis has been a steadfast leader in our caucus and has forged a new path for women legislators in Indiana. Her dedication and service will continue to be fondly remembered by all. She will undoubtedly be missed, Bosma said.
A caucus to fill Ponds seat had been slated for Oct. 8.
- Service, calling set for Rep. Phyllis Pond
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- Pence: Pond led with integrity and passion
- Allen County commissioners: Pond was an inspiration
- Verbatim: Indiana mourns State Rep. Phyllis Pond
- Coats: Pond dedicated her life to public service