|Sen. Jim Bunning.|
He had suffered a stroke in October.
Bunning was a Hall of Fame baseball pitcher with the Detroit Tigers and the Philadelphia Phillies.
He later was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District, and was elected to the U.S. Senate from Kentucky, where he served two terms.
Bunning was born in Southgate, Kentucky, the son of Gladys (née Best) and Louis Aloysius Bunning.He graduated from St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati in 1949 and received a bachelor's degree in economics from Xavier University.
In 1952, Bunning married Mary Catherine Theis. They had five daughters and four sons. One of Bunning's sons, David L. Bunning, is a federal judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Another son, Bill, is the head brew master at Ye Olde Brothers Brewery in Navarre, Florida. Jim and Mary Catherine also have thirty-five grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren, as of 2013. One of those grandchildren is Patrick Towles, former starting quarterback for the University of Kentucky and Boston College football teams.
Towles, a Highlands graduate, wore the same number 14 that his grandfather did.
Bunning was one of the Senate's most conservative members, gaining high marks from several conservative interest groups. He was ranked by National Journal as the second-most conservative United States Senator in their March 2007 conservative/liberal rankings.
First elected to office in 1977, Bunning served two years on the city council of Fort Thomas, Kentucky before running for and winning a seat in the Kentucky Senate as a Republican. He was elected minority leader by his Republican colleagues, a rare feat for a freshman legislator.
Bunning was the Republican candidate for Governor of Kentucky in 1983. He and his running mate Eugene P. Stuart lost in the general election to Democrat Martha Layne Collins.
Bunning threw two no-hitters, one being a perfect game. His perfect game was the first thrown by a National League pitcher in 84 years and he's one of only seven pitchers to throw both a perfect game and an additional no-hitter.
"Today Kentucky truly lost a political icon," said Kentucky State Senator Wil Schroder. "I will be forever grateful for Jim Bunning’s leadership and dedication to service at the local, state, and national level. I, along with so many others, owe him a debt of gratitude for his support and will always cherish his friendship. My thoughts and prayers are with Mary and the Bunning family."
Visitation will be held Muehlenkamp-Erschell Funeral Home in Fort Thomas, Kentucky from 2-8 p.m. on June 2. Mass of Christian burial will be at Saturday, June 3, at 10:00 a.m. at Catherdral Bascilica of the Assumption in Covington, Kentucky.
Bunning was 85 years old.