Two-Term Governor George Deukmejian Dies at 89
Former two-term Governor George Deukmejian passed away Tuesday at the age of 89. He is being remembered as a popular figure in Republican and state politics who championed balanced budgets, public safety, and the rule of law, with his tough stance on spending earning him the nickname “the Iron Duke.”
Deukmejian was the son of Armenian immigrants and the only person of Armenian descent to ever serve as governor of a state. He was elected twice to that office in 1982 and again in 1986.
Before his run for governor, Deukmejian spent 16 years in the state legislature and another 4 as California’s attorney general. He was an especially beloved figure in his town of Long Beach where he remained active in public and community life well after his tenure as governor.
“George Deukmejian was a popular governor and made friends across the political aisle,” Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement Tuesday. “Anne and I join all Californians in expressing our deepest condolences to his family and friends.”
A number of other officials reacted to the news Tuesday.
The entire Long Beach community is mourning the loss of Governor George Deukmejian. The Governor was a long time Long Beach resident and began his career as a local attorney. He has supported Long Beach his whole life. Our prayers and thoughts are with Gloria and his family.— Robert Garcia (@RobertGarciaLB) May 8, 2018
Governor Deukmejian was a tremendous public servant to the people of California. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) May 9, 2018
We are sad to hear of the passing of Gov. George Deukmejian. His leadership brought hope, and his strong moral compass put California at the forefront of the fight against South Africa’s racist apartheid government. His legacy will never be forgotten. pic.twitter.com/CpvPuO22d7— CA Assembly GOP (@AssemblyGOP) May 8, 2018
Today we lost CA's 35th Governor. George Deukmejian served CA in both houses of the legislature & as Attorney General. He stood up against oppression & enacted efforts to oppose apartheid in South Africa. My deepest condolences to the Deukmejian family. https://t.co/nfpEWrNGAn— Antonio Villaraigosa (@antonio4ca) May 8, 2018
Deukmejian passed away at his Long Beach home of natural causes, according to his family. He is survived by wife Gloria May and their three children.
Image Credit: http://www.capitolmuseum.ca.gov/