Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Mourners Bid Farewell to McKeithen {Louisiana secretary of state}
Baton Rouge, LA, Morning Advocate ^ | 07-20-05 | Shuler, Marsha

Posted on 07/20/2005 6:14:14 AM PDT by Theodore R.

Mourners bid farewell to McKeithen

By MARSHA SHULER Capitol news bureau

COLUMBIA -- Mourners flocked to this village Tuesday to celebrate Walter Fox McKeithen as a slice of Louisiana history and a mix of forgivable vices and bedrock virtues. The longtime secretary of state died Saturday, five months after he was paralyzed by a fall and two decades after following his late father, Gov. John McKeithen, into a colorful political career.

In control to the end, McKeithen ordered a breathing aid turned off after saying goodbyes and ensuring his family was secure, daughter Marjorie McKeithen Schlesinger told an overflow crowd at the funeral in a small Methodist church.

"He asked to be taken off the ventilator and let nature take its course," she said.

"He died bravely, peacefully, with dignity and with his family at his side holding hands," Schlesinger said in an otherwise irreverent eulogy that broke up the audience.

McKeithen, 58, was once "a prolific litterer" who drove over his opponents' campaign yard signs and "never let the truth get in the way of a good story," Schlesinger said.

He also battled alcoholism for years and once escaped from a rehabilitation center in Texas, then had to be fooled into another rehab center in Baton Rouge.

But McKeithen also kept his sense of humor, even in his final days, "treated everybody the same, no matter what," and early in life saw no sense to racial or gender prejudice, Schlesinger said.

The former high school civics teacher also ran a modern, efficient secretary of state's office that reduced bureaucracy for businesses and left a world-class state archives, she said.

But Louisiana's only Republican statewide elected official was most proud of keeping close friends in the Democratic Party, including several who carried his casket Tuesday, Schlesinger said.

The funeral crowd of current and former governors, current and former legislators and other dignitaries, as well as McKeithen's employees, was overwhelmingly Democratic. U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., flew in from Washington, D.C., for the funeral.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: columbia; foxmckeithen; funeral; johnmckeithen; la; marjorieschlesinger; marylandrieu; secretarystate

1 posted on 07/20/2005 6:14:15 AM PDT by Theodore R.
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Theodore R. Here's the Shreveport Times story on the McKeithen funeral.
2 posted on 07/20/2005 7:47:39 AM PDT by Theodore R. (Cowardice is forever!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson