|Katherine De Guzman |||Jul 14, 2014 02:15 AM EDT|
(Photo : thesouthern.com) Ken Gray sporting a distinctively blue suit and a bow tie.
Former Democratic Representative Ken Gray, known as the King of Pork for his ability to win financial support for his district, died last Saturday due to a long illness, according to a report by ABC news. He was 89.
According to Parker-Reedy Funeral Home, West Frankfort, the charismatic representative died at a Hospital in Herrin.
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During his political stint in Congress, Gray managed to bring in US$7 billion-worth of projects for his district in his 24 years as Illinois' representative.
Gray was first elected to Congress in 1954. His ten terms in elected public service were cut short because of high-blood pressure.
He resigned in 1974, but was able to return in 1984. At the time, he was only able to serve two terms after he suffered a muscular disorder. The disorder was caused by a tick bite when he went for a Congressional visit in Brazil.
Gray was best known for making successful projects for his district. He was a very important figure during his time in Washington. He was most noted for district projects that include a federal prison, interstate highways, post offices and hospitals.
He was also able to fund the creation of the man-made Rend Lake which provided potable drinking water for communities in Illinois. The lake is now considered one of the top tourist destinations in Southern Illinois.
He did not only help the state in terms of having such infrastructures, but he was also able to help the economic status of Illinois.
Interstate 57 was named the "Ken Gray Expressway" in 2008 to serve as a tribute to what Gray has accomplished for Illinois. Gray helped in writing the Interstate Highway act that signed in 1956.
Also, Gray was known for his exceptional choice of colorful clothing, which include pink jackets and brocade printed wardrobes.
In an interview about his fashion taste, Gray jokingly said he was "surrounded by 434 undertakers. Everyone was dressed the same, in a black suit with a dark tie."
"I got into this business to break the political mold. I wanted to stand out." Gray said.
He was born on 1924 in the Franklin County town of West Frankfort and served as a pilot in World War II.
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