Bob Graham dead at 87

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Former U.S. Senator Bob Graham appeared during a press conference at the National Press Club August 31, 2016, in Washington, DC. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Quality Journalism for Critical Times

Bob Graham, a former Florida governor and U.S. senator who ran an unsuccessful campaign for president in 2004, has died at 87, his family announced early Tuesday.

The family issued the following statement:

“We are deeply saddened to report the passing of a visionary leader, dedicated public servant, and even more importantly, a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather: Bob Graham.

“As a legislator, Florida’s 38th governor, and a United States senator, Bob Graham devoted his life to the betterment of the world around him. The memorials to that devotion are everywhere — from the Everglades and other natural treasures he was determined to preserve, to the colleges and universities he championed with his commitment to higher education, to the global understanding he helped to foster through his work with the intelligence community, and so many more.

“While he valued his opportunities to represent others in public office, the jobs Bob Graham most loved were those he spent working alongside everyday Floridians. His more than 400 workdays, in occupations ranging from construction to farming to hospitality, created wonderful friendships across the state and forever changed his perspective on Florida and his approach to public service.

“His very first workday — teaching citizenship at a Miami-Dade County high school — became a lifelong passion for helping Americans become effective citizens. That interest led to the creation of the University of Florida Bob Graham Center for Public Service, which will extend his legacy by ensuring future generations of leaders understand how to discharge their rights and responsibilities as citizens of our state, nation, and planet.

“Bob Graham would tell people his favorite title was not governor or senator. It was the name his grandchildren gave him: Doodle. ‘When I’m really good, they call me Super Doodle,’ he liked to say.

“For 87 years, Bob Graham was so much more than really good. He was a rare collection of public accomplishments and personal traits that combined to make him unforgettable. As his family, we will never forget his love for us, the love he had for Florida, the United States, and the world, and the love so many people showed him. We thank God for the gift of his life.”

Honors planned

His daughter, Gwen Graham, represented a sprawling North Florida district in Congress between 2015 and 2017. She sought her party’s nomination for governor in 2018, but lost to Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who went on to lose narrowly to Republican Ron DeSantis.

Graham, following service in the Florida House and Senate, won the governorship in 1978 and reelection four years later. He resigned three days before the end of his second term (in accordance with Florida’s resign-to-run law) to launch a campaign for U.S. Senate in 1986. He won and served three terms.

Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a statement via his X feed, calling Graham “a devoted public servant who, among other important work, made enormous achievements in conserving Florida’s natural resources. We are grateful for his service to our state and nation. May he rest in peace.”

During a news conference in South Florida, DeSantis said the state would formally pay homage to Graham.

“We are going to be giving him the state honors of lowering the flag at half staff once the date of interment is publicized, and I think that that’s very very much appropriate” DeSantis said. “We’re really thankful for his service and he served very, very ably for this state for many years.”


The post Bob Graham dead at 87 appeared first on Florida Phoenix.