Republican state Rep. David Dank has died at his home in Oklahoma City.
The 76-year-old Dank had represented a western Oklahoma City district since 2007, when he was elected to succeed his wife, Odilia Dank, who was term-limited. She passed away in 2013.
The Oklahoman reports Dank's close friend, Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan, found Dank at his home late Friday afternoon after spending most of the day trying to reach him.
“It was a complete shock,” Maughan said. “Nobody could have expected this.”
Maughan said Dank had mentored him throughout his career and taught him the intricacies of public service.
“Oklahoma has lost a man of integrity and dedication,” he said. “He was a champion of the taxpayers. We will not see his like again.”
An Oklahoma City police spokesman said Dank appeared to have died of natural causes. Maughan said it appeared he had suffered a heart attack.
Maughan said Dank struggled with grief after his wife, Odilia Dank, who also was a state representative, died.
In a statement Friday night, Gov. Mary Fallin called him a hard-working lawmaker, a great community leader, and a savvy businessman.
"I always appreciated his willingness to tell me what was on his mind," Fallin said on Facebook. "As a legislator, he looked out for the average citizens as exemplified by his diligence to work on issues benefiting senior citizens and to reform tax credits."
House Speaker Jeff Hickman said in a statement Friday Dank loved the state he unselfishly served.
"David particularly loved children and his devotion to leave a better Oklahoma for the next generation motivated him daily in all aspects of his public service. David and Odilia quietly contributed significant financial resources to numerous programs which made a difference in the lives of children across our state," Hickman said. "Personally, he became another grandfather to me and my family, and every conversation we had about any topic, whether we agreed or disagreed, began with questions about my three children and ended with something he wanted me to be sure to tell them."
State Sen. David Holt represents much of the same part of the metro. He said Dank and his late wife Odilia defined northwest Oklahoma City Republican politics for 25 years, and called his passing "the end of an era."
"Especially in his latter years, he meant what he said & said what he meant," Holt said. "Though a man of passion and conviction, also a man of kindness, and his last words to me this week were of that tenor."
Dank was born in Pennsylvania on July 14, 1938. He attended Bishop McGuinness High School and the University of Oklahoma.
For years he served as the publisher of the Moore Monitor and the Oklahoma Conservative Review newspapers, according to his legislative biography. One state Capitol reporter told KGOU he was always very generous with his time and respectful of journalists.
During his final years in the legislature, he crusaded against tax credits he worried were unnecessary. At the time of his death he was chairman of the House Revenue and Tax Subcommittee.