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Herbert Lehman, Former Governor and Senator, Is Dead

Dec. 5, 1963 - Herbert H. Lehman (pictured in 1930 with then New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt), a towering figure in the liberal political movement in the U.S. and a noted philanthropist, died this morning at his home after suffering a heart attack. He was 85 years old. Mr. Lehman was elected to four consecutive terms as Governor of New York, and he served as a U.S. Senator for eight years. President Franklin D. Roosevelt referred to him as “that good right arm of mine.” Mr. Lehman also was director of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration after World War II. The organization aided more than 500 million war victims. Governor Rockefeller proclaimed a 30-day period of mourning to mark the death of Mr. Lehman. Flags on all state buildings, already flying at half-staff because of the death of President Kennedy, will remain at half-staff until Jan. 5. Mr. Lehman was stricken as he was about to leave his apartment at 820 Park Avenue to go to Washington to receive the nation’s highest peacetime award to a civilian — the Presidential Medal of Freedom. With 30 others, he had been chosen for this honor by President Kennedy. The award was to have been presented by President Johnson at a White House ceremony today. Today, President Johnson praised Mr. Lehman as a “distinguished leader who ably and effectively served his state and nation.” President Johnson’s tribute was one of the first of a multitude of tributes to Mr. Lehman — tributes that cut across partisan politics. Former Vice President Richard M. Nixon said: “Senator Lehman was one of the kindest men I have ever known. I’m sure that one of many tributes members of the two parties can pay to him is that he had the quality of never growing old.”

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