The longest-serving US House minority leader died this morning. Bob Michel was 93.
The World War II veteran was first elected to congress in 1956 and spent 38 years representing West Central Illinois.
Brad McMillan heads the Institute for Principled leadership at Bradley University and spent the first the first part of his career working for Michel until his congressional retirement.
McMillan says the loss of such a humble gentleman and statesmen is particularly difficult right now. “The entire time Ronald Reagan was president the Republicans were in a significant minority in the House of Representatives. So the only way that any of Reagan’s policies got passed was because of Bob Michel and Reagan’s bipartisan leadership.”
McMillan says Michel was great at listening and gentle persuasion.“One of the qualities that I think so highly of Bob Michel about is that even though he rose to the highest levels of power in America, he really felt like he was lucky to be in this kind of position.”
Michel was among the troops that stormed the beaches of Normandy in World War II. He earned two bronze stars and a purple heart. Michel received the Medal of Freedom in 1994 from,the Presidential Citizens Medal in 1989 and the first Congressional Distinguished Service Award in 2000.
The VA Clinic in Peoria, a bridge over the Illinois River and the Student Center at Bradley, his alma mater hold his name.
Michel died at an Arlington Hospital of pneumonia. His visitation is Friday, February 24th, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Wilton Mortuary in Peoria. A memorial is planned Saturday, February 25th at 10:00 a.m. at Bradley University’s Dingeldine Auditorium.