Former Missouri Governor Joseph P. Teasdale has died in Kansas City from complications of pneumonia, the Kansas City Star Reports.

Former Governor Joe Teasdale (courtesy; Missouri State Archives)

Former Governor Joe Teasdale (courtesy; Missouri State Archives)

Teasdale was the 48th governor of Missouri, serving from 1977 until 1981. A Democrat, he defeated Republican Governor Kit Bond in 1976 and was defeated by Bond in 1980. Teasdale died peacefully Thursday afternoon surrounded by his family, according to his son, John Teasdale.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) has ordered flags at all state buildings be flown at half-staff until the interment of the late former governor, and has issued a statement on the passing of Teasdale:

“Earlier this evening we received the sad news about the passing of a dedicated public servant, former Governor Joseph P. Teasdale. Gov. Teasdale was a good man whose life was guided by a deep and abiding faith and a commitment to public service.

“By the time he was elected as Governor in 1976 at the age of 40, Gov. Teasdale already had a record of accomplishment. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Kansas City, he headed up the organized crime section; then at the age of 30, he became the youngest prosecuting attorney in the history of Jackson County.

“The hallmark of his 1976 campaign was his walking across the state to personally visit with Missourians, and the pages of Missouri’s political history were made richer with the image of “Walkin’ Joe.”

“During his tenure as Governor, Gov. Teasdale was especially known for his actions in support of Missouri seniors. He created the Division of Aging, he pushed for passage of the Nursing Home Reform Act, and he supported removal of the state sales tax on prescription drugs.

“Georganne and I are keeping the Teasdale family in our thoughts and prayers.”