Joe Kernan, former student-athlete, mayor and governor, passes away

Author: Daily Domer Staff

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Notre Dame Athletics | July 31, 2020

Joe Kernan ‘68, former Notre Dame baseball student-athlete, Governor of Indiana, Lieutenant Governor of Indiana and Mayor of South Bend (Ind.), passed away this Wednesday, July 29. He was 74 years old.

Kernan was a catcher/infielder for the Irish baseball squad during the 1967 and 1968 seasons under the tutelage of legendary head coach Jake Kline. The South Bend native (St. Joseph’s High School) hit .245 over 159 plate appearances and had 22 RBI during his Irish career.

Kernan received his bachelor’s degree in government from Notre Dame in 1968 and enlisted in the United States Navy following graduation. He flew combat missions over Laos and North Vietnam before his plane was shot down during a mission over North Vietnam in 1972. He spent 11 months as a prisoner of war before being rescued in March of 1973.

“Joe Kernan’s many and noteworthy contributions to Notre Dame, our community, the state and our nation cannot be overstated,” University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. said. “Our prayers are with his wife, Maggie, their family and his many friends. We grieve over his passing while simultaneously recognizing a remarkable life. May he rest in peace.”

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Originally published by Daily Domer Staff at on July 31, 2020.