Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Almond passes away
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Almond passed away on Jan. 2, at the age of 86.
Almond’s passing was confirmed via a statement Tuesday from Gov. Dan McKee.
“Gov. Almond often said his number one goal was to make Rhode Island a place where people wanted to work and raise a family,” said McKee.
“Rhode Island was better off because of his eight years as Governor,” continued McKee.
McKee said flags at all state buildings will fly at half-staff until the day of his interment.
Almond served as the 72nd governor of the state from 1995 to 2003 and was the first governor to serve a four-year term.
The Republican was a staunch proponent of improving health care for children and investing in higher education. He also successfully fought efforts to bring casinos and other expanded gambling opportunities to the state.
“I am honored to have worked in the Senate while Lincoln Almond was Governor,” said Senate President Dominick Ruggerio.
“His leadership helped transform our state, particularly with regard to economic development, infrastructure, and investment in our institutions of higher learning. He led with humility, compassion and class, and he left our state a better place to live and work,” he added.
Almond played a major role in bringing Fidelity Investments to northern Rhode Island in 1995 and the expansion Quonset Point as an economic hub.
“Governor Almond worked tireless to make Rhode Island a state where people were proud to work and live — and he succeeded,” read a portion of a statement from the Rhode Island Republican Party.
“He served Rhode Islanders honorably for eight years and we are proud to have had him as our governor,” the statement continued.
Prior to his time as governor, Almond served as U.S. attorney for more than 20 years, from 1969 until 1978 and from 1981 until 1993.
He made a name for himself with a string of political indictments and drug convictions that included busting an extensive money laundering ring run for Colombian drug lords.
Almond’s political career got off to a modest start when he was appointed in 1963 to fill an unexpired two-year term as Lincoln’s town administrator. He failed in initial bids for the U.S. House in 1968 and for governor in 1978.
He was the longshot who paid off in the 1994 gubernatorial campaign, besting a sitting congressman, Rep. Ron Machtley, in the GOP primary. He defeated Democratic state Sen. Myrth York in the general election.
Almond was born in Pawtucket in 1936 and was proud to be the first University of Rhode Island graduate elected governor. He graduated from Central Falls High School and had a law degree from Boston University.
In retirement, Almond cheered on his URI Rams basketball team, walked endless miles with his wife on the beaches of Wellfleet, Massachusetts, where they also had a home, and took great pride in caring for his lawn.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Marilyn Almond, as well as a son, daughter and five grandchildren.
Almond’s funeral arrangements are private.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.