Political leaders in the state are mourning the deaths of two legislative leaders from the past.
Republican Nicholas A. Lenge, a lawyer from West Hartford who served in the General Assembly from 1963 to 1973 and was House Minority Leader in 1967, died Monday.
Two days later, Democrat John Groppo, a Winsted stone mason who represented the 63rd District in the House from 1959 to 1985, died.
Both were members of the “Greatest Generation” who served in the Marine Corps during World War II, then returned to their home state.
Groppo “had a huge heart,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal. ”Loyalty was his middle name.”
Groppo, who was 91 when he died, held a number of leadership posts in the House, including majority leader and the chairmanship of the powerful appropriations committee. He also served as commissioner of the Department of Revenue Services from 1985 to 1987, and as mayor of Winsted.
“John Groppo gave unceasingly and unstintingly to his community and country– a model of public service in the Marine Corps, state legislature, and Mayor’s office,” Blumenthal said.
Lenge, who was 93 when he died, was corporation counsel in West Hartford before his election to the General Assembly. He served as House minority leader during the 1967 legislative session and represented the 5th District in the state Senate in 1973. He co-chaired the Appropriations Committee and served on the Judiciary Committee.
“Senator Lenge devoted his life to public service and was as a true inspiration,” said Jerry Labriola Jr., chairman of the Connecticut Republican party. ”As House minority leader and a state senator, he admirably represented the needs of his constituents and the principles of the Republican Party. As a Marine, he honorably served his country overseas during World War II.”