33rd Pres. of the US
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Date Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 04:32:14pm
KANSAS CITY, Mo., Dec. 26 ¡ªHarry S. Truman, the 33d President of the United States, died this morning. He was 88 years old.
Mr. Truman, an outspoken and decisive Missouri Demo crat who served in the White, House from 1945 to 1953, suc cumbed at 7:50 A.M., central standard time, in Kansas City's Research Hospital and Medical Center.
He had been a patient there for the last 22 days, struggling against lung congestion, heart irregularity, kidney blockages, failure of the digestive system and the afflictions of old age.
In the more than seven years he was President, from the time Franklin Delano Roosevelt's death suddenly elevated him from the Vice©\Presidency until he himself was succeeded by Dwight David Eisenhower, Mr. Truman left a major mark as a world leader.
He brought mankind face to face with the age of holocaust by ordering atomic bombs dropped on Japan, sent Ameri can troops into Korea to halt Communist aggression in Asia, helped contain Communism in Europe by forming the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and speeded the postwar re covery of Europe through the Marshall Plan.
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His domestic record was somewhat less dramatic, for his proposals and ideas were often premature. He ended up on the losing side of fights other Pres idents later won ¡ª Federal health care, equal rights legis lation, low income housing.
His other legacies were per haps less tangible but no less remembered ¡ª the morning walk, the ¡°give 'em hell¡± cam paign that nipped Thomas E. Dewey at the wire, the desk plaque that proclaimed ¡°The buck stops here!¡± and the word to the timid and indecisive: ¡°If you can't stand the heat, you better get out of the kitchen.¡±
An obituary article appears on Pages 46¨C49. An appraisal by the late Dean Achesan, written in 1964, will be found on Page 45.
Toward the end of his strug gle for life, the former Presi dent weakened steadily. Early yesterday, his doctors warned that death might come ¡°within hours.¡±
When it came, the doctors announced that the cause was ¡°a complexity of organic fail ures causing a collapse of the cardiovascular system.¡±
A state funeral will be held Thursday in nearby Independ ence, Mr. Truman's home town, to mark his passing. Much of the ceremony will be subdued and private at the family's request.
State funerals are conducted only for former commanders in chief, although the President can direct that a state funeral be held for an individual. Modi fications in state funerals, which usually cover four or five days with considerable ceremony, are made at the re quest of the family, as in this case.
President Nixon has declared the day of burial, Thursday, to be a day of national mourning. The American flag is to be flown at half©\staff for 30 days.
The former President's body will lie in state in the Truman library in Independence from 1:35 P.M. tomorrow until 11 A.M. Thursday. Burial will fol low on the library grounds at a spot chosen by Mr. Truman himself.
President Nixon will fly to Kansas City tomorrow after noon, then go to the library to lay a wreath at the base of Mr. Truman's coffin. Although it was understood that the President's name appeared on the official list of persons in vited to attend the funeral, it was expected that, in keeping with the subdued and private nature of the ceremony, he would not stay overnight for the funeral service and burial.
Tomorrow morning the cof fin will be transported to the li brary in a motorcade that will pass the Victorian Truman home on the way from the Car son funeral home a few blocks away.
The service, scheduled to be gin at 2 P.M. Thursday, will be held in the library's 250©\seat auditorium. Attendance will be by invitation. Burial will fol low immediately.
A memorial service for Mr. Truman here will be held in the National Cathedral in Wash ington for Federal and foreign dignitaries. No date has been set, but the State Department said it would be within two weeks.
Mrs. Truman at Home
The Truman family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, friends make donations to the library or charities.
At the time of his death, Mr. Truman's wife, Bess, 87, was at their home in Independence, having spent most of yester day at the hospital. She was told of her husband's passing by his personal physician and long©\time friend, Dr. Wallace Graham.
Mr. Truman's only child, Mrs. Clifton Daniel of New York, also was at the home. She flew to Kansas City last night for a brief visit with her father.
Today, Mr. Daniel, an associ ate editor of The New York Times, was met at the Kansas City airport by his wife and Mrs. Truman. The four Daniel boys¡ªThomas Washington, 4; Harrison Gates, 7; William Wal lace, 11, and Clifton Truman, 13¡ªare to arrive tomorrow.
The only other immediate Truman survivor is the former President's 83©\year©\old sister, Miss Mary Jane Truman of Grandview, a town southeast of Kansas City. She has been a patient in Research Hospital since suffering a fall several weeks ago and was notified of her brother's death in a nearby room within minutes.
The hospital announcement of Mr. Truman's death was re leased at 8:10 A.M. by Wayne E. Conery, an assistant admin istrator. It was the 80th bul letin concerning the former President's last illness and stated:
¡°The Hon. Harry S. Truman, 33d President of the United States, died at 7:50 A.M. at Research Hospital and Medical Center.
¡°The cause of death has not been determined. Dr. Wallace Graham was present.
¡°Mrs. Truman and Mrs. Clif ton Daniel were notified at 7:52 A.M.
¡°Funeral arrangements have not been finalized. It is the wish of the family that in lieu of flowers, friends make me morial donations to the Harry S. Truman Library Institute, Independence, Mo or to the charities of their choice.¡±
Mr. Truman's final illness was the eighth to put him in Research Hospital in the post Washington days. The others involved four cases of intestinal infection, a broken rib, a hernia and appendicitis.
The final period of illness be gan in late November as a case of minor lung congestion. Doc tors initially treated Mr. Tru man at home.
But they ordered him hos pitalized on Dec. 5 when the congestion grew worse and his heart, already weakened by a long struggle with hardening of the arteries, began to beat irregularly under the strain.
At the time he was admitted to Research, Mr. Truman's con dition was termed ¡°fair.¡± The next night, however, he be came critically ill when his blood pressure dropped to 80/ 60, his pulse soared to 120 heats a minute, his tempera ture rose to 102.83 degrees and his breathing became labored.
But the former President fought back and was moved up to the ¡°serious¡± list near the end of his first week of hospit alization. Asked how he felt, he told a doctor, ¡°Better.¡±
A few days later, just as his heart and lung condition seemed to be stabilizing, his kidneys began to fail under the strain of prolonged illness. His, condition was described as ¡°very serious¡± as impurities be gan to build in his blood.
But again he fought back, telling his doctors near the end of his second week of hospitali zation that he felt ¡°all right,¡± even though they had ruled out the use of a kidney machine be cause of his hardened arteries. Mrs. Daniel returned to New York.
At that point, Mr. Truman's doctors began feeding him a special solution designed to re duce the impurities that were still building in his blood. There was an immediate reduction and a hospital bulletin reported:
¡°President Truman is show ing remarkable strength and tenacious physiological reac tions, which are a reflection of his attitudes toward life. We believe that we have begun a favorable trend.¡±
But the trend was not to last.
At daybreak on the 18th day of his hospitalization, Mr. Tru man went through what doc tors termed a ¡°dangerous peri od¡± as his blood pressure dropped and his temperature rose.
Mr. Truman's condition was changed from ¡°very serious¡± to ¡°critical¡± and his doctors and nurses began to monitor him almost constantly, particularly as his breathing became la bored, his kidney output de creased, fluid built in his lungs and his heart began to flutter.
On Christmas morning, the former President was so weak that his doctors said death could come ¡°within hours.¡±
Today, it finally came.
The room in which the for mer President died is on the sixth floor of Research Hospi tal, a 500©\bed facility he helped dedicate in 1963. Two red and green Christmas bells hang in the window, which looks east toward Independence and the recently completed baseball and football stadium of the Harry S. Truman sports complex.
The room cost $59.50 a day. In Mr. Truman's case it was paid for by private medical in surance and Medicare.
Long an advocate of Federal health plans, Mr. Truman held Medicare Card No. 1. He had not been able to push such a plan through during his own Presidency, but Lyndon B. Johnson was more successful and came to Independence in 1965 to sign the Medicare act in the Truman Library, enroll ing the former President as the first member.
It was a final political victory for Harry S. Truman.
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