The political legacy of a man that spanned four decades and rippled across Idaho packed a Boise State University ballroom Thursday to celebrate his life.
Hundreds paid their respects to former Gov. Cecil Andrus, emphasizing lighter moments of his life that highlighted his sense of humor and unwavering dedication to his family and the people of Idaho.
His daughter, Tracy, held back tears as she described her father as someone who always turned up in moments of crisis.
“He is, was and always has been the only true hero that any of us has ever had,” she said.
She also recalled Andrus teaching her and her two sisters how to hunt and fish – and when his first grandson was born, he celebrated by buying him a lifetime hunting and fishing license instead of the teddy bears he had given his granddaughters.
Congressman Mike Simpson (R) shared golf games with the four-term governor and a handful of legislative differences. But the two came together to eventually designate the Boulder-White Clouds wilderness area – something Andrus had tried, but failed to do for years.
He says it used to frustrate Republicans that their party couldn’t elect one of their own to the governor’s office in the reddest state in the country at the time.
“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 that we all call home,” Simpson said.
He praised all sides of his former colleague’s personality, saying the Andrus family was lucky to have had him.
“For Tana, Tracy and Kelly, I’ll tell you what I said at my own father’s funeral. Life doesn’t come with instruction books. That’s why they make fathers. You were blessed.”
The roughly 90-minute ceremony follows Andrus’s body lying in state at the capitol for 24 hours.
He will be interred during a private ceremony at Pioneer Cemetery with a flyover by the Idaho National Guard.
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