U.S. and Michigan flags across the state have been lowered to half-staff to honor the life and service of the 'Eternal General', former Attorney General Frank J. Kelley. 

Kelley, a Democrat, was the longest-serving attorney general in Michigan history, earning him the nickname as Michigan's 'eternal general’ for his 37 years of service. No previous attorney general served more than five.  He was first appointed to the position in 1961 by Democratic Governor John Swainson and held office under five different governors, three of them Republicans.   He butted heads often with Governor George Romney but worked well with moderate Republican governor Milliken and the rest.

Several remembered Kelley in a Detroit News Article.

"I could not have had a finer lawyer," Engler said. "Frank Kelley was a joy to work with and through regular meetings with him my knowledge of Michigan politics was greatly enhanced."

"Frank J. Kelley was not just a legend in Michigan politics, he was a giant in American public service,f remembered former governor James Blanchard. "He belongs to an era of civility, decency, non-partisanship, and respect for others and the rule of law."

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Perhaps more than anyone else, Frank J. Kelley helped shape the modern office of the state attorney general. Following the lead of US Attorney General Robert Kennedy, he decided to use his office as the people’s lawyer as a “bully pulpit.” He was one of the first attorneys general to create a consumer protection unit and an environmental protection unit within the office. After serving 37 years, Michigan adopted term limits, and he was succeeded in office by future governor Jennifer Granholm.

Former Attorney General Bill Schuette, a Republican, told the Detroit News,  "He established the standard of conduct for Michigan Attorneys General. Great sense of humor and a wonderful public servant. A legend in Michigan. He understood bi-partisan politics."

“Frank J. Kelley was one of my absolute favorite people from whom to get advice, perspective, or humor,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “He will be missed but his mark on Michigan will be felt – as generations were benefited by his leadership.”

Frank J. Kelley was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1924. His father owned a bar and was a democrat and admirer of President Harry Truman. Kelley attended the University of Detroit for both an undergraduate and a law degree. Frank J. Kelley passed away on Friday, March 5 at 96 years old.

Michigan Half Staff Flag Instructions

The State of Michigan recognizes the duty, honor, and selfless service of former Attorney General Frank J. Kelley by lowering flags to half-staff. Michigan residents, businesses, schools, local governments, and other organizations also are encouraged to display the flag at half-staff. To lower flags to half-staff, flags should be hoisted first to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The process is reversed before the flag is lowered for the day.  Flags should be returned to full-staff on Sunday, March 21.

Learn More about Frank Kelley in the with comments from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel in this WOOD-TV report.

READ ON: See the States Where People Live the Longest

Stacker used data from the 2020 County Health Rankings to rank every state's average life expectancy from lowest to highest. The 2020 County Health Rankings values were calculated using mortality counts from the 2016-2018 National Center for Health Statistics. The U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey and America's Health Rankings Senior Report 2019 data were also used to provide demographics on the senior population of each state and the state's rank on senior health care, respectively.

Read on to learn the average life expectancy in each state.

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