Former Midlands lawmaker Isadore Lourie dies at 70 - - Columbia, South Carolina

Former Midlands lawmaker Isadore Lourie dies at 70

(Columbia) April 24, 2003 - A prominent Midlands leader and former state legislator has died. Isadore Lourie passed away early Thursday morning after an extended illness. He was 70.

One of Lourie's sons, Joel Lourie, is currently in the House of Representatives. He says his father had been diagnosed with a rare form of Parkinson's Disease a couple of years ago.

Lourie, an attorney, served in the South Carolina House from 1965 until 1973 and then served in the South Carolina Senate. The lifelong Democrat left the Senate in 1992, after serving three years as majority leader.

Senator Lourie was also involved in community affairs, serving with numerous groups and organizations. West Columbia Senator Nikki Setzler says he has served with no one who cared more for every person in South Carolina than Lourie, "He is the most compassionate person I've ever met in my life and he taught me so much."

Columbia businesswoman Barbara Rackes has met many prominent lawmakers during her career, but no one has meant more to her than Lourie, "He was so personable and individual in his relationships with people, that you never really knew that so many people had been touched by him."

Rackes knew Lourie for more than 30 years, first as a Senate page and later as his friend, "He had the willingness to stand up for stuff when virtually no one else would."

During his time in the General Assembly, Lourie stood up for blacks, women and senior citizens. He also fought against raising the speed limit to 65, evidenced by a comment made on the Senate floor, "We let more people be killed, we let more people be hurt, we let more medical bills be paid, more disability benefits be paid."

Senator Darrell Jackson (D) Richland, says Lourie even stepped down in 1992 so a minority candidate could run for his seat, "He was in the prime of his career, and he voluntarily stepped aside so that someone else could serve and that someone else, luckily, was myself. I owe a big debt of gratitude to Senator Lourie."

Lourie was born in St. George to European immigrants. He earned his law degree at the University of South Carolina. He is survived by his wife, Susan Reiner Lourie, and sons, Lance of Atlanta and Joel and Neal of Columbia.

Lourie's funeral will be Friday afternoon at 3:00pm at Beth Shalom Synagogue on North Trenholm Road with burial in the Hebrew Benevolence Cemetery at Taylor and Gadsden Streets in Columbia.

By Catherine Reynolds
Updated 10:52pm by BrettWitt

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