‘Georgia has lost a giant:’ Georgians remember Johnny Isakson

Tributes have poured in for former U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson as word of his death overnight Sunday spread.

Georgians remembered the Senator as a skilled politician who worked with both parties, a successful businessman, and a dedicated servant who wanted to make his community and his world a better place.

Below are some of the tributes from your fellow Georgians.

Johnny Isakson’s oldest son John Isakson

“We are grateful for everyone’s prayers as we mourn the loss of our father.”

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp

“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. Johnny Isakson personified what it means to be a Georgian. Johnny was also a dear friend to Marty, the girls, and me – as he was to so many. He answered the call to public service many times over his career as a state legislator, minority leader in the Georgia House, chair of the State Board of Education, Congressman, and finally as Senator.

“His work to champion our veterans, deliver disaster relief for Georgia farmers after Hurricane Michael, and always stand up for Georgia’s best interest in the U.S. Senate will live on for generations to come. As a businessman and a gifted retail politician, Johnny paved the way for the modern Republican Party in Georgia, but he never let partisan politics get in the way of doing what was right.

“Above all, Johnny was a wonderful father to his three children and a devoted husband to Dianne. Our family is sending our deepest condolences and prayers to the Isakson family, his former staff, and all lucky enough to call Johnny a friend. Georgians across our state join them in mourning the loss of one of our best.”

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr

“When I was a young man just getting started in politics, I wanted to be like Johnny Isakson.

“Johnny was the first person I voted for when I was 18 and was the first person I worked for in politics. Over time, he became a mentor and a close friend. I will never forget the time spent with him, whether in the halls of the Senate or the back roads of Georgia. And I will always be grateful for his wisdom and guidance, and how he taught us to live life as if there were only two kinds of people – friends and future friends.

“Johnny Isakson exemplified everything you would want in a public servant. and he will be remembered as one of the greatest Georgia ever had. I try to live up to his example every day. “Joan’s and my heart go out to all of the Isaksons, who over the years became like family to us.”

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

“I am privileged to have called Senator Johnny Isakson a friend. A true statesman with a servant’s heart, he was always attentive to the needs of our communities. While our state has lost a man of honor, he leaves an indelible example of servant leadership we should all work to emulate. Derek and I extend our prayers and condolences to his family and loved ones.”

Georgia Gubernatorial Candidate Stacey Abrams

“U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson served the whole of Georgia with attention and fairness. With every interaction, my respect for him grew and never wavered. Though we held different ideologies, I was honored to call him friend. God’s peace to his family, loved ones and friends.”

Georgia Secretary of State’s Office Chief Operating Officer Gabriel Sterling

“The loss of Johnny Isakson for his family, our state and our nation will be greatly felt. A great example of a leader. A true gentleman. His integrity, his kindness, and his ability to actually get things done for the people of GA and USA will be missed.”

Former Speaker of The House Newt Gingrich

“Senator Johnny Isakson’s passing marks the end of an era. Johnny was a founder of the modern Georgia GOP. His years of patient, steady work with an always positive attitude, a smile for everyone, and a balanced approach to life, politics, and government made Georgia a better place.”

Gubernatorial Candidate Vernon Jones

“One of Georgia’s tallest pines has fallen.

“I had the honor of serving with Senator Johnny Isakson during my time in the state legislature.

“Few loved the state of Georgia as much as him and have served our state more honorably. RIP.”

Gubernatorial Candidate David Perdue

“Bonnie and I are heartbroken by the passing of former U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson. Johnny was an effective colleague, a mentor I looked up to, and a friend whom I deeply cherished. From serving in the Air National Guard, to fighting for Georgians in the United States Senate, Johnny, entire life revolved around service. He always put others before himself. The last few years have not been easy for Johnny, but he responded to every obstacle with stalwart resilience. His dry wit and kind heart will be missed by everyone who knew him.

“Scripture tells us in Matthew 23 that the greatest among you will be a servant.’ When you consider Johnny’s life, it’s clear to me that Johnny Isakson was truly the greatest among us. Bonnie and I will be praying for Dianne and the entire Isakson family in the days ahead. We hope they find comfort in knowing Johnny is at peace.”

U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff

“Senator Isakson was a statesman who served Georgia with honor. He put his state and his country ahead of self and party, and his great legacy endures. Alisha and I will keep Dianne and the Isakson family in our prayers.”

Monica Kaufman Pearson

“Former Senator Johnny Isakson was a true Statesman who was all about bringing people together, working for the common good. Now I can publicly thank him for getting us great seats at the 2nd Inauguration of Barack Obama. You earned your rest, Senator.”

Speaker Pro Tempore of the Georgia House of Representatives Jan Jones

“Georgia is a better place thanks to Sen. Johnny Isakson. His long career of public service from Atlanta to Washington always put our peoples’ interest first. Kalin and I are praying for his wife, Dianne, and family, and we thank Johnny for his service to GA & the nation.”

U.S. Senate Candidate Gary Black

“Lydia and I celebrate with grateful hearts the life of Senator Johnny Isakson. While Georgia has lost one of its greatest public servants of all time, God has rescued and provided the ultimate healing for Johnny. The Isakson family will remain in our prayers.”

6th District Congressional Candidate Jake Evans

“Johnny Isakson loved Georgia & dedicated a noble life to the service of it. He often joked he was a Georgia Republican back when they could meet in a phone booth, & his work helped bring years of successful conservative governance to our state.”

6th District Congressional Candidate Meagan Hanson

“Johnny lsakson was one of the greatest statesmen to come out of Georgia – and one of the greatest public servants in the history of the United States.

“His loss is a tremendous blow to our nation – but his record of diplomacy, bipartisanship, and kindness will be celebrated for generations.

“David and I are praying for the lsakson family today – and praying that Johnny’s lsakson’s incredible legacy and memory may long live on through history.”

Outside of Georgia

Several of Isakson’s friends and colleagues from outside of Georgia also paid tribute today. Their words are below.

U.S. Senator Mitt Romney

“Heavy heart learning that Johnny Isakson has died. No one welcomed me to the Senate like he did; no one better demonstrated integrity, honesty and kindness. The loss will be felt by the people he served, the veterans he championed & the nation he loved. Rest well, my good friend.”

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

“Barbara and I send our condolences to the family of Johnny Isakson He served Georgia very well in the House and Senate Johnny was kind to everyone he encountered & had a good sense of humor We will miss our friend.”

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt

“Johnny Isakson liked to help people and liked to get things done. I was always impressed by his habit of often addressing groups he was speaking to as, ‘my friends and future friends.’ He was a skilled politician, a great public servant, and a great friend.”

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito

“Johnny Isakson was a dear friend of mine. His kindness and statesmanship will forever be remembered in the U.S. Senate. Sending prayers to his family and loved ones today.”

U.S. Senator Mark Warner

“Johnny Isakson was a good man, and he was my friend. I’ll miss him.”

U.S. Senator John Barrasso

“Georgia and the entire country lost one of its most beloved public servants today. For decades, Johnny Isakson fought for the people of Georgia in the House and Senate. Johnny led by example. He brought people together to solve the tough challenges facing our country.”

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