Johnny Isakson delivering his farewell speech in the US Senate in December 2019.

The family of former US Senator Johnny Isakson announced Sunday that he died overnight.

Isakson, who was 76, served in the Georgia Legislative Assembly and the United States Congress for more than 40 years.

The owner of a successful real estate agency, the longtime East Cobb resident has also been active in civic affairs for much of his adult life.

He was also chairman of the Georgia Board of Education during his public career.

Republican who espoused bipartisanship, Isakson served as chairman of the Senate Veterans Committee when he retired at the end of 2019, during his third term, due to Parkinson’s disease.

In a statement released by his family, his son John Isakson said that “we are grateful for each other’s prayers as we mourn the loss of our father.”

Funeral arrangements have not been completed for Isakson, who would have turned 77 on December 28.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said in a statement on Sunday that “Georgia has lost a giant, one of its greatest statesmen and a servant leader dedicated to making his state and country better than he found it “.

Georgia House President David Ralston said, “Johnny believed that we were at our best when we worked together for the common good and that who deserved it didn’t matter as much as what we got. “

Former US Senator David Perdue, who was Isakson’s colleague in Georgia, said that “Johnny’s whole life revolved around service. He always put others before him. The past few years haven’t been easy for Johnny, but he has responded to every obstacle with unwavering resilience. His dry mind and kind heart will be missed by all who knew him.

US Democratic Senator Jon Ossoff, who toppled Perdue in a runoff in January 2021, said that “Senator Isakson was a statesman who served Georgia with honor. He put his state and his country ahead of himself and the party, and a great legacy lives on. “

State. Senator Kay Kirkpatrick, a Republican from East Cobb, called Isakson “a great role model and friend.” Sincere condolences to his family. It is a sad day for Georgia as we mourn this giant.

Former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, said Isakson “has served all of Georgia with care and fairness. . . . Although he had different ideologies, I was honored to call him a friend.

Isakson moved to East Cobb from Atlanta in the late 1960s as he built Northside Realty and got involved in the local commercial scene.

He was elected to Georgia House in 1974 as a Republican in a Democratic-dominated legislature and built a reputation for working across party lines.

After an unsuccessful bid for governor in 1990, Isakson was elected to the Georgia Senate in 1992. He lost in the GOP primary for US Senator in 1996, then was elected to succeed the outgoing Speaker of the House. from the United States, Newt Gingrich, to represent Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. in 1998.

Isakson was reelected twice before winning his first race for the US Senate in 2004.

He won a third term in 2016 after acknowledging his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. In July 2019, he was hospitalized after a fall in his Washington apartment, and he announced his retirement in November.

Kemp appointed businesswoman Kelly Loeffler to succeed Isakson until the 2020 election, when she was defeated by Democrat Raphael Warnock, whose term expires in 2022.

Isakson and his wife Dianne raised their family in East Cobb, their children and grandchildren having attended Walton High School.

He was at hand when the new Walton class building opened in 2017. In the 1970s, while working in the real estate industry, Isakson said former Cobb school principal Kermit Keenum asked him to help him find a land for a new high school to accommodate East Cobb’s rapid growth.

He noted during the dedication ceremony that the properties on Bill Murdock Road on which Walton and Dodgen Middle School are located cost around $ 4,500.

“It would cost at least 10 times that amount today,” Isakson said.

In 2018, was appointed East Cobb Citizen of the Year and has been recognized by the Cobb Board of Commissioners for his service to the community shortly after his retirement.

Isakson was a long-time member of the Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, where he taught a Sunday school class for much of his political career.

As Isakson prepared to step down, he received a special tribute in the United States House, where Atlanta Congressman John Lewis warmly kissed the wheelchair senator.

After hearing tributes from his Senate peers, Isakson, in his closing remarks, implored his colleagues to “find a way to find common ground”. He said, “America, we have a problem”, but that “we can To do anything “dropping the harsh party labels.” Bipartism will be the way you get things done, the way you live. “

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