George Deukmejian, a two-term Republican governor of California, died on May 8. He was 89. Deukmejian, who was elected governor in 1982 and 1986, died at his home in Long Beach of natural causes.
The L.A. Times reported: “His many years of public service included 16 years as a state legislator and four as state attorney general. The son of Armenian immigrants, Deukmejian had years of public office on his resumé before winning election as governor and emerging as the most prominent Armenian American politician in the United States. His identification with Armenians, who were victims of genocide during the early 20th century at the hands of the Ottoman Turks, would infuse his life with a determination to ensure the rule of law.”
He was tough on crime but also signed legislation authorizing the purchasing of health insurance by uninsured Californians suffering from serious illnesses, such as AIDS, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, through tobacco tax revenues.