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.

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.

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