Former Indiana governor, Joseph Kernan, laid to rest

Joseph Kernan, a former Indiana governor, was laid to rest Aug. 4 in a cemetery on the University of Notre Dame campus.

SOUTH BEND – Joseph E. Kernan, 48th governor of the state of Indiana, was laid to rest the afternoon of Aug. 4 in a small private ceremony at Cedar Grove Cemetery on the campus of the University of Notre Dame.

The former governor and mayor of South Bend was buried in a place that meant the world to him – in South Bend, and on the campus of Notre Dame. 

After his retirement from politics in 2005, Kernan moved back to South Bend, where he continued to work as an adjunct professor at the University of Notre Dame and through his own consulting firm until his death.

Kernan, died July 29, with published reports saying he had been in a care facility after being diagnosed several years ago with Alzheimer's disease.

The private ceremony was attended by his brother and sisters from the East Coast, and his wife Maggie, who lives in South Bend.

"The family would like to thank the thousands of people nationwide who have shared their love, their memories of Joe and their kindness during this heartbreaking time," according to a news release from Mary Downes, Kernan's former chief of staff.

Kernan was also a U.S. Navy Vietnam War veteran. He and his co-pilot were shot down while on a reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam in 1972. He spent 11 months as a POW in Hanoi, including at the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” prison.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Veterans Fund at the University of Notre Dame. Direct your gift to support scholarships and fellowships for military-connected students to, by phone 574-631-5150, or by mail to University of Notre Dame, Department of Development, 1100 Grace Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556.

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