LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is ordering all Michigan and U.S. flags in the State Capitol to be lowered at half-staff in memory of former Attorney General Frank J. Kelley, who passed away Friday at the age of 96.
“Frank J. Kelley was one of my absolute favorite people from whom to get advice, perspective, or humor,” says Governor Whitmer. “He will be missed but his mark on Michigan will be felt – as generations were benefited by his leadership.”
The order goes into effect immediately and will continue through Saturday, March 20. Residents, schools, businesses and local governments are encouraged to lower flags to half-staff as well.
Kelley served as attorney general for 37 years, the longest time served by anyone in the role. The governor’s office says Kelley was among the first attorneys general to establish units for consumer and environmental protection, referring to him as the “People’s Lawyer.”
Attorney General Dana Nessel released a statement in response to Kelley's passing, reflecting on his many accomplishments as well as his compassion for others.
Nessel's full statement reads:
“It is with a heavy heart that I join you in mourning the passing of former Attorney General Frank Kelley. Mr. Kelley was an extraordinary man, the quintessential public servant, and a legend in his own time. Having served as Michigan’s attorney general for 37 years, he was, on his retirement in 1999, the longest serving state attorney general in the country, earning the nickname of the 'Eternal General.' During those many years of service, he was a beacon to the State, a mentor to many, and a valued advisor to notable public officials. And his energy and genuine passion for public service inspired countless others to likewise dedicate their talents in service to the People of Michigan.
"Mr. Kelley’s accomplishments are legion: He was the first attorney general in the country to establish Consumer Protection, Criminal Fraud, and Environmental Protection divisions; his influence led to the passage of the Open Meetings Act and the Freedom of Information Act; he was a leading figure in the tobacco settlement that benefitted Michigan and many other states; and he served as the president of the National Association of Attorneys General, a group that honored him by naming its most prestigious award—the Kelley-Wyman Award for outstanding service and national contributions—after him. As extraordinary as his accomplishments were, many will best remember Mr. Kelley for his humor, friendship, and humanity. He will be sorely missed.”