Community says goodbye to State Rep. Phyllis Pond

File -  Phyllis Pond
File - Phyllis Pond

NEW HAVEN, Ind. (WANE) – State Representative Phyllis Pond was laid to rest Friday. She passed away last Sunday after a battle with a lung condition. Pond was 82.

Hundreds of people came to her funeral at Emanuel Lutheran Church in New Haven, where Pond was a longtime member.

Photo Gallery | Remembering Phyllis Pond

The common theme of memories was of her loyal service to the people of Indiana and her community. Her casket even had the state of Indiana seal on it.

Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann and State Senator David Long both spoke at the service. Ellspermann called her an honorable public servant and said “while small in stature, Phyllis walked with large footprints at the Statehouse.”

Senator Long said the quality of her service is what stands out most. Among many other issues, she fought for and got passed legislation that caps class sizes in K-3 at 18 unless there’s a second teacher.

“She was a difficult person to say no to,” Long said. “I could never say no to Phyllis and she knew that. She was a great legislator, a true friend to the people of Indiana and my friend. I will miss my friend Phyllis Pond. As she did for everyone else, she made my life better too.”

Pond was elected to the Indiana General Assembly in 1978. She was also a kindergarten teacher for 37 years at New Haven Elementary School. Even when Pond did retire from the classroom, she never stopped teaching.

“Everything was a teachable moment, no matter how little. Her motto was do what’s right. It’s not always popular, but do it anyway,” Jean Grasmick, Pond’s daughter, said. “Mom touched so many lives. She probably had 2,500 students.”

Rep. Kathy Heuer (R-District 38) roomed with Pond during legislative sessions for the last three years.

“It was fun to talk about the bills and things they were discussing on the floor. She gave me the history behind it. She had great institutional knowledge and the history lessons were amazing,” Heuer said.

Heuer also learned some tips on how to be a good lawmaker from Pond.

“Listen more than you talk, never think you have all the answers and know both sides of an issue before you vote,” Heuer said.

Pond’s daughter summed it up by saying, “She loved everybody and everybody loved Mom. She was a statesman, a mother, a teacher and a mentor to so many and she did so much for so many people that no one will ever know because she didn’t publicize it.”

After the service, a police-escorted procession went under a big Garrison flag at New Haven’s city hall. Pond was buried at Woodlan Cemetery in Warren. She grew up on a farm northeast of Warren and graduated from Warren High School in 1948.

The family said preferred memorials are to Emanuel Lutheran church or the Pulmonary Fibrosis Association.

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