BOISE - Hundreds filled the Jordan Ballroom at Boise State University Student Union Building this afternoon, the home to the Andrus Center for Public Policy, to say a final goodbye to Idaho's longest serving governor.
Many stories were shared about Cecil Andrus during Thursday's public memorial, a few tears were shed, but there were many more laughs during the service.
The 85-year-old Andrus died last Thursday of complications from lung cancer. His final term as governor ended in 1995 and he was the last the last Democrat to hold the top state political job in heavily Republican Idaho.
U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, a former Idaho House speaker, summed it up when he took to the podium.
He said there had already been a funeral, a lying in state, so this was a time for a celebration of Cecil Andrus and his impact, not just on the state of Idaho, but on all of those who were lucky enough to have met him, worked with him, or loved him.
The service lasted about 90 minutes, and most of what was shared were personal stories of the four-term governor that many may not have heard.
We heard from his political friends, like Congressman Simpson, who said he came into public service with the idea politics was about Republicans versus Democrats. His time spent with Gov. Andrus changed that.
“It took me a while to figure out that there must have been a lot of Republicans voting for this Cecil Andrus guy,” said Simpson. “I finally came to the realization that they weren’t voting for a Democrat, they weren’t voting for a Republican, they were voting for a man. A man who shared their dreams, their aspirations. That cared about the education of their children, and would protect the beautiful place we all call home. Someone they can trust.
"Last week the state of Idaho and indeed the nation, lost a statesman and a leader and a man who loved our great state and all it has to offer. But for those of us in the Andrus family we lost a husband, a father, a grandfather and a great-grandfather," said Tracy Andrus, daughter of Cecil Andrus. “Growing up an Andrus kid you knew your dad had to be shared. Dad loved all of you as much as you loved him.”
“We should all give him the best possible tribute,” said Marc Johnson, former chief of staff for Gov. Andrus. “We should try to live out the example of his life. We will never forget what he did. He was simply the best of us.”
WATCH: Cecil Andrus public memorial
The memorial service also included a video tribute and music from the College of Idaho Langroise Trio and Dr. Paul A. Aitkin.
The contributions of Cecil Andrus to the state and nation are immeasurable. Boise State officials say they are particularly grateful for his work establishing the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State where he continued to serve as its chairman until his death. The center advances his legacy by championing wise use of our environmental resources and public lands, proper funding of education for our children and the cultivation of leadership from all segments of our society. It remains dedicated to independent, non-partisan policy formation on critical issues confronting Idaho, the American West and the United States.
On Feb. 22, 1974, Gov. Andrus signed the bill that granted university status to Boise State, envisioning a bright future for a university in Boise.
Andrus' family asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State University.
They also ask that tributes in honor of Governor Andrus be made to the Cecil D. Andrus Center.
KTVB provided live coverage of the service on air and online.
Check back later. We are working to publish the entire memorial to our website.
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