On Sunday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s office announced that former Governor Don Sundquist passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, following surgery and a short illness. He was 87 years old.
Born in Moline, Illinois on March 15, 1936, Sundquist was a graduate of Augustana College. He went on to serve in the United States Navy. After years in the printing and advertising industry in Shelbyville and Memphis, he was elected to Congress, representing Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District. Sundquist served six terms in Congress, and was on the Ways and Means Committee, where he earned the reputation as a staunch fiscal conservative.
He was elected Governor of Tennessee in 1994, and overwhelmingly re-elected to a second term in 1998. Under his leadership, Tennessee implemented a ground-breaking welfare reform program, comprehensive crime legislation focusing on victims’ rights, and set record levels of economic development. His administration was instrumental in bringing two national sports franchises, the Tennessee Titans and the Nashville Predators, to the state.
“We are comforted by our faith and friends, and know he is with our Lord and loved ones in heaven,” said former First Lady Martha Sundquist.
“Governor Sundquist was an impactful leader and principled statesman who devoted his life to public service,” said Gov. Bill Lee. “As Tennessee’s governor for two terms, he contributed to our state’s legacy of fiscal responsibility and expanded opportunity for Tennesseans through historic economic development. Maria and I join all Tennesseans in honoring Governor Sundquist’s remarkable life, and we pray God’s comfort over Martha and their family in the days ahead.”