Memorial held under the Capitol's dome for Wendell Ford

Published: Jan. 26, 2015 at 3:07 AM EST|Updated: Mar. 12, 2015 at 4:22 AM EDT
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FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - He was a senator, a governor, a Kentuckian.

Sunday afternoon, Wendell Ford was once again surrounded by his colleagues. Only this time, they'd greet him in front of the statue of another leader born in the bluegrass, Abraham Lincoln.

"I felt like it was going to happen, him coming out and shaking everyone's hand," Ford's former press secretary, Mike Rueling said.

It was at the Capitol where Senator Ford practically lived for 15 years of his life. So in his passing, it was only fitting that he be honored right underneath the Capitol's dome.

"Lord, we gather here today to honor the memory of your servant Wendell Ford," Gov. Steve Beshear said during a prayer.

In an hour, speakers attempted to sum up 40 years of service: a love for his job, a sense of duty, a witty humor, and a crushing handshake.

"That boy from Yellow Creek didn't mince words," Thomas Preston, a senior advisor to Gov. Beshear said during the eulogy. "Certainly he was no elitist, self appointed or otherwise."

It was his former press secretary who he'd been friends with for 40 years, who let us in on some secrets. He told us how Ford took pride in being the first in the Capital to make the coffee, though it was terrible. He also recalled when Ford would leave uplifting notes for his staff.

"He was one of a kind and today is a real affirmation of a life well lived and a job well done," Rueling said.

For the man who so often professed his love for Kentucky, there was only one way to end his service. The crowd sang "My Old Kentucky Home."

Funeral services will be held Tuesday in Owensboro.

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