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GOP activist dies in car crash

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A coroner says prominent Republican
activist Velma Childers has died in a car crash near Pikeville.

Pike County Coroner Russell Roberts said the 79-year-old
Childers sustained the fatal injuries Wednesday afternoon in a
multi-car accident. She was pronounced dead at Pikeville Medical

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported on its Web site that
Childers was one of the state Republican Party's most active
volunteers and was friends with former President George Bush and
former first lady Barbara Bush.

She worked on various campaigns, including those of former President Richard Nixon, former Gov. Louie Nunn, Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. Hal Rogers.

President George H.W. Bush issued the following statement on the passing of Velma Childers: “I was sorry to learn of the passing of my good friend and incredibly loyal supporter, Velma Childers. Barbara and I send our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to her family. Velma was the best example I know of someone who knew and loved grass roots politics. She is one of the reasons I was honored to be President of the United States.”

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell released the following statement upon hearing the news of Velma Childers’ passing: “Elaine and I are deeply saddened at the news of Velma’s tragic passing. Velma was a Kentucky institution and anyone who came in contact with her benefited from her loving nature, positive spirit and boundless energy. She loved Kentucky and in particular was proud to be an eastern Kentuckian who called Pikeville her home. We will miss her greatly.”

Statement on the passing of Velma Childers from former National Republican Chairman Mike Duncan: “I was shocked to learn of the passing of Velma Childers. We had been friends since the early 1970’s and she encouraged me to be involved in national politics. Velma was a fundraiser for and personal friend of President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara. She was a loyal supporter of President George W. Bush and Laura. “It is a sad day for Republicans and Democrats. Velma was a tireless advocate for our region and state. I will miss her very much.”

Here is Congressman Hal Rogers’ statement on the passing of Velma Childers: “She was an energetic civic leader always promoting the great attributes of Pikeville, Pike County and Eastern Kentucky. She was a hard working Republican who firmly believed in conservative principles of government. She was a loyal and true friend of mine whose dedicated support I deeply appreciate. I will miss her advice, counsel and friendship.”

Governor Steve Beshear issued the following statement on the passing of Velma Childers: “Our thoughts are with the family of Velma Childers during this time of grief. She was a wonderful lady, well known for her dedication and commitment to her community and its people. She touched the lives of many during her lifetime. Even though we supported different political parties, Velma always pushed for the best for Kentuckians regardless of political affiliation. She will be greatly missed.”

Former Governor Ernie Fletcher issued the following statement on the death of Velma Childers: “Velma was a dear friend. For decades she has been a positive force for the Republican Party in Kentucky and nationally as a personal friend of Presidents and First Ladies. She will be deeply missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.”

Visitation will be in the J.W. Call Funeral Home Chapel after 6 p.m. Friday.

Funeral services will be 1:00 p.m., Saturday, December 12, 2009 at the First Baptist Church of Pikeville with Bro. Paul Badgett officiating.

Interment: Burial will follow in the Johnson Memorial Park at Pikeville, Kentucky. ---

(The Associated Press, Medical Leader, & Lexington Herald Leader contributed to this report)

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