Former Missouri Gov. Hearnes seriously ill

Thursday, August 13, 2009 | 2:58 p.m. CDT; updated 11:13 a.m. CDT, Thursday, October 1, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY — Former Missouri Gov. Warren Hearnes is gravely ill at his home in Charleston.

Family spokesman Rob Crouse, who wrote a biography about Hearnes, said Thursday that Hearnes' wife and three daughters have gathered by the side of the 86-year-old former governor. Crouse said Hearnes is weak and fading from natural causes related to his age.

Hearnes was the first Missouri governor to serve two consecutive terms, from 1965 to 1973, after successfully advocating for a change in the state's constitutional term limit. As governor, he oversaw significant expansions in state spending for mental health, elementary and secondary education, and state colleges and universities.

The Democrat also served as secretary of state and in the state House of Representatives. He ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 1976.

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