Statement by Secretary Hagel on former Rep. John Y. McCollister
I was deeply saddened to learn today of the passing of former Nebraska Rep. John Y. McCollister, who was my friend and mentor for more than four decades.
John Y. led a long and fulfilling life that embodied the spirit and values of the greatest generation. He was dedicated to serving his country and the people of Nebraska, beginning with his time as a naval radar officer in the Pacific during World War II. He later became a major force in Nebraska politics, on the Douglas County Board of Commissioners, in the Boy Scouts, and in the Omaha and Nebraska Business community. I was honored that he gave me the opportunity to serve on his Congressional staff in the 1970s.
I learned about public service and being an elected representative from John Y. He did it right. He was the model. He was a wise, balanced, and a complete leader, and one of the finest public servants I have ever known. I will always be indebted to him for placing his trust and confidence in me, and for his continued friendship and advice over the years.
The people of Nebraska have lost a great leader, and John Y. will be greatly missed by everyone whose life he changed. Lilibet and my thoughts and prayers are with his wonderful family as they mourn his passing and celebrate his legacy of service and leadership.