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general assembly

House celebrates Pond, renames highway for her


– The Indiana House and U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks on Thursday lauded former New Haven state Rep. Phyllis Pond, including naming part of U.S. 24 in her honor.

Brooks, R-5th, first presented several members of Pond’s family a copy of the Congressional Record from November when she and U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-2nd, honored Pond.

Pond died in September at the age of 82 after spending 35 years in the House and teaching kindergarten for more than 30 years.

Then Rep. Casey Cox, R-Fort Wayne, Pond’s successor, introduced a House resolution naming the portion of U.S. 24 from U.S. 30 east of New Haven to State Line Road in Allen County the “Phyllis J. Pond Memorial Highway.”

He said his constituents constantly recount stories about Pond, including farmers who said she would hop on a tractor to help out.

And members of the Amish community told Cox how delighted they were to get a surprise knock on their door on a summer day from Pond, asking how they were and how she could help.

Pond’s son Doug addressed the House, saying she would be proud but humbled by the accolades. She had a deep respect for her colleagues and loved the support staff.

“She wanted so much to be with you one last time on Organization Day but it didn’t happen,” Doug Pond said.

Several House members spoke about Pond, calling her a pioneer for female legislators, a humanitarian and a public servant.

Rep. Woody Burton, R-Whiteland, said when a group of 20 male legislators and just Phyllis Pond were gathered “we were still outnumbered.”

House Speaker Brian Bosma said Pond was the first legislator to encourage him to run for leader.

“And she was the first in my office when she thought I screwed something up, but she always supported me,” he said.