FORT WAYNE - State Rep. Phyllis Pond (R- New Haven) died Sunday after being diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in early September. She had announced her resignation several weeks ago. Rep. Pond was elected to the state legislature in 1978 and was the longest serving female state representative in the history of Indiana. She was also the first female lawmaker to earn a seat in the front row in the House Chamber, which is reserved for House leaders or representatives with the most seniority.

“Today, the State of Indiana mourns the loss of a leader and a friend to all Hoosiers. Phyllis was a revered colleague, a strong voice for her district and a compassionate conservative who always stood by her principles,” said House Speaker Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis).

Prior to being elected to the legislature, Rep. Pond worked as a kindergarten teacher. From this experience, she authored the Primetime Education Bill which capped kindergarten through third grade classroom sizes at 18. During her 35 years of service in the House, she was also instrumental in crafting many other key pieces of legislation to improve the livelihood and education of Hoosier students.

Reminiscent of her days in the classroom, for her last few years as a legislator, Rep. Pond cast her votes with a ruler. This allowed her to vote without reaching across the desk to push the buttons – an idea which she couldn’t believe took her 30 years to think of. She was also very passionate about giving back to those who have served our country. During the holidays, she always encouraged people to send cards and words of encouragement to the service men and women fighting overseas. To her, it was the least she could do to say thank you and show her support.

“Phyllis has been a steadfast leader in our caucus and has  forged a new path for women legislators in Indiana. Her dedication and service will continue to be fondly remembered by all. She will undoubtedly be missed,” said Speaker Bosma.