‘A beautiful man’: Nephew and successor remembers Congressman Dale Kildee
FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - Mid-Michigan is mourning the loss of a political giant.
Former U.S. Rep. Dale Kildee passed away at the age of 92. He is being remembered as a tireless public servant, who spent 36 years in Washington, D.C. before leaving in 2012.
His nephew, Dan Kildee, won the seat and he announced his uncle’s death Wednesday. He was there for Dale Kildee’s final moments.
“I was able to be there and just thank him. Just telling him everything I wanted to say and thank him for all he’s done for me,” Dan Kildee said.
Dale Kildee was a beloved family member and friend to many in Mid-Michigan. He served as a political mentor to Dan Kildee when he began representing Mid-Michigan in Congress.
“You know, he told me a lot about how to navigate the place, mostly to take care of myself and not get drawn into it,” he said.
Dale Kildee was one of longest serving members of Congress after winning election 18 times beginning in 1976. He was a quiet man with a big heart for his family and his constituents.
Dan Kildee said his uncle devoted much of his time to Mid-Michigan and fought for the auto industry all the way to Washington.
“He was a big advocate of Flint and Saginaw,” Dan Kildee said. “Dale, I think, saw the way that these jobs these union jobs especially can transform a family, and he did everything to try and continue that.”
But Dale Kildee’s big passion was in the education sector. The former Flint Central High School teacher continued teaching even while in public office and often used his platform to improve the lives of others.
“Because it changed his life,” Dan Kildee said. “You know, our family was a poor family, living on the east side of Flint. He was the first member of the family to go to college, and it transformed his life, it opened doors for him that a kid growing up on Jain Avenue would never otherwise experience.”
Over almost 40 years in public service, Dale Kildee worked to uplift the lives of countless people, families, cultures and communities in Michigan. His nephew plans to continue his uncle’s legacy by working to create an environment of civility and kindness in our country.
“He was just the kind of decent man who wanted everybody else to share that. And I think what he believed is if you treat people with kindness, that might be contagious, that other people may follow suit,” Dan Kildee said. “And an important guy, but you’d never know if you talked to him. He was just a beautiful man.”
Dale Kildee leaves behind his wife Gayle, three kids and his grandchildren. Funeral and memorial arrangements were not announced on Wednesday.
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