Funeral, memorial planned for longtime Rep. John Dingell

Maricruz Casares
Febrero 9, 2019

Michigan Democrat John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in USA history who fought for years for key liberal causes including healthcare expansion and civil rights - and who more recently delighted his 264,000 followers on Twitter with biting commentary and wit - died Thursday at home in Dearborn.

"Every chapter of Chairman John Dingell's life has been lived in service to our country, from his time as a House Page, to his service in the Army during World War II, to his nearly six decades serving the people of MI in the U.S. Congress. John Dingell leaves a towering legacy of unshakable strength, boundless energy and transformative leadership", she said in a statement. "I remember he said shooting a rifle is a lot like legislating".

Patrick Butler, president and CEO of America's Public Television Stations, said in a statement that Dingell "set a standard of public service that will be hard to match".

Dingell's service, combined with that of his father and his wife, marks the longest consecutive service in Congress for a single family: almost 86 years. She said in a statement that Dingell died peacefully at his home in Dearborn, Mich.

Dingell dictated the message to his wife and congressional successor Debbie Dingell Thursday in their suburban Detroit home. He spoke out often and harshly against President Donald Trump.

"I think he will go down in history as one of the most impactful members of the United States Congress", said Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries of NY.

"Burn this entire administration down", Dingell wrote just last month after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said he didn't understand why furloughed workers were using food banks during the longest government shutdown in history. Former President Barack Obama eulogized the late congressman that served alongside him during his presidency. He presided over the vote for Medicare - changing the lives of America's seniors. She now represents his former district.

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The newly elected politician was no stranger to the Capitol.

Alongside his congressman father, Dingell was serving as a page on the House floor when President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan on December 8, 1941. In college, he supervised the building's elevator operators. His 57 years, five months and 26 days broke by one day the record set by the West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd, who had died in office in 2010. "It's what I have done with that time".

Dingell was succeeded in Congress by his wife, Debbie Dingell, after he announced in February 2014 that he would not seek a 30th full term. Continuing the family tradition, his wife, Debbie, successfully ran for her husband's seat in 2014.

Obama awarded Dingell the Presidential Medal of Freedom later that year.

Dingell, who served his final year as a representative in 2015, suffered a heart attack in September and was receiving hospice care on Wednesday, according to several reports. He was hospitalized but was soon "cracking jokes as usual", his wife said at the time.

Dingell, in his later years, used Twitter as an outlet for his quick wit.

Dingell favored abolishing the Senate, where legislation faces a higher threshold for passage and combining the two chambers into one. In January, he noted the negative 7-degree temperature in Hell, Michigan, and retweeted a tweet from the Detroit Free Press that said the "Detroit Lions are going to win the Super Bowl" now that Hell had frozen over.

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