Ex-Indiana Gov. Whitcomb, prison of war in WWII, dies at 98

Former Indiana Gov. Ed Whitcomb (via IN.gov)
Former Indiana Gov. Ed Whitcomb (via IN.gov)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Former Indiana Gov. Edgar Whitcomb, who escaped a prisoner-of-war camp during World War II and sailed around the world in his 70s, has died.

His daughter, Patricia Whitcomb, tells The Associated Press that her father died on Thursday. He was 98.

The Republican small-town lawyer from southern Indiana was governor from 1969 to 1973. He vetoed scores of bills during his term, including one to cut property taxes by raising the state sales tax.

He tried to block legislation that placed most of Indiana on Eastern Standard Time all year long. Lawmakers overrode that veto, and the law was in effect until 2005.

Whitcomb escaped a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp, but was recaptured a day later. While in his 70s, he took a solo sailing trip around the world.

Gov. Mike Pence issued the following statement on Whitcomb:

Governor Ed Whitcomb was a great man whose life of courage, service and adventure inspired generations of Hoosiers and he will be deeply missed. Governor Whitcomb was a treasure to our state and I mark his passing with a sense of personal loss as will thousands of Hoosiers whose lives were touched by this remarkable leader.

On Thursday, Pence ordered flags at state facilities statewide be flown at half-staff to honor Whitcomb.

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