The sudden death of Wisconsin Governor-Elect Orland S. Loomis on December 7, 1942 shocked the state; no place more than his home town of Mauston. Carl F. Hanneman wrote the article below for The Wisconsin State Journal on Tuesday, December 8, 1942.
By CARL F. HANNEMAN
State Journal Correspondent
MAUSTON — A few weeks ago, all Mauston rejoiced as Orland S. Loomis, known as “Spike” to the entire city, was elected governor of Wisconsin.
There was an impromptu celebration, and the townspeople gathered to cheer the man who had spent his life in the community except when he was serving the state at Madison and his country in France.
Today Mauston was as deep in sorrow and grief as it was in the heights as the November election returns came rolling in.
For the man who was a friend to everyone in Mauston had died suddenly, and the whole city was quiet with tragedy.
Pastor Speaks for City
The Rev. G.I. Krein of the First Presbyterian church expressed the sentiment of the entire city when he said today:
“A few weeks ago the people of Mauston rejoiced and let Mr. Loomis know how proud we all were of him. As we did them rejoice, we now mourn.
“The Sunday following his election Mr. and Mrs. Loomis worshipped with us. I then bade them Godspeed in their new home and work.
“As a young pastor I have welcomed his kindly interest in my and this church. I am thankful to have had the counsel and friendship of this Christian character,” Mr. Krein said.
Officials Pay Tribute
Gov.-elect Loomis at one time was district attorney of Juneau County, and today another Juneau County prosecutor, Charles P. Curran, declared that “the people of Mauston and Juneau County have lost a very dear friend and the state of Wisconsin have been deprived of an outstanding governor, statesman and leader.”
Mayor Raymond W. Barnwell characterized the death “as a shock such as a community like this seldom has. It strikes every citizen as though they have lost one of their own family, and the universal sense of grief is evidence of what ‘Spike’ really mean to everyone here,” the mayor said.
Lifelong friends of the governor-elect included Dr. J.S. Hess Jr. and J.H. Ensch, American Legion official. Dr. Hess said “we can appreciate the great loss for our community and the entire state of Wisconsin,” while Ensch, who “noticed him through school, college, social, law and political days,” reported the entire community grief-stricken.
Gov.-elect Loomis was characterized by Robert P. Clark, county judge before whom he often argued cases, as “a conscientious and capable public servant.”
“Mauston was proud of its favorite son,” said John Hanson, editor of the Mauston Star, and “ ‘Spike’ Loomis will always live in the hearts of everyone here, where he was known best, first as a friend, then as governor.”
“We in Mauston who have profited by his counsel and example fully appreciate the loss to the commonwealth,” said Robert Temple, editor of the Juneau County Chronicle.
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