Frank Kelley, Michigan's Longest-Serving Attorney General, Dies at 96

March 06, 2021, 11:57 AM by  Allan Lengel

Frank Kelley, nicknamed "Eternal General" because of his 38-year service

Frank Kelley, the state’s longest-serving attorney general, has died at 96. His family announced his passing Saturday, according to The Detroit News. 

The savvy, humorous Democrat, who sported a shock of white hair and a politician's million-dollar smile, was a big advocate of consumer protection and environmental issues. He was attorney general from 1961-99 under five governors. He was also the longest serving attorney general in the country, earning him the nickname "Eternal General."

His children, Karen Kelley, Frank E. Kelley and Jane Kelley-Schott, issued a statement, according to the News: "He was a great dad and husband, who had a great sense of humor. He was a loyal friend and mentor to many, he considered public service as an honor.  He loved the law and his loyalty to the people of Michigan was unwavering."

Daniel Loepp, CEO and president of Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Michigan, who was a press secretary for Kelley in the 1980s, issued a statement:

“I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my friend and mentor Mr. Frank Kelley. He is one of the remarkable people of our time. As the longest serving state attorney general in U.S. history, he earned the distinction of being called the people’s lawyer. Frank Kelley made a better life for the people of Michigan and set an amazing example for those who worked for him, with him or were inspired by him. I was fortunate to be one of the many people who worked for Mr. Kelley and was deeply impacted by him from the first day. Our condolences go out to the entire Kelley family.”

The state's current attorney general, Dana Nessel, salutes him as "one of a kind."

"He will be deeply missed, but his legacy will continue to live on. More on my thoughts about Frank J. Kelley, the 'Eternal General' soon."

The governor pays tribute too:

A Republican former attorney general also paid tribute:

And a former U.S. attorney in Detroit reacted from Ann Arbor:

Former Lt. Gov. Brian Calley tweeted:

Read more:  The Detroit News

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