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Large crowd attends Cecil Andrus memorial at Boise State University

Posted at 10:23 PM, Aug 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-01 00:23:52-04

A public memorial, as Idaho says goodbye to Cecil Andrus.

The former governor -- a Democrat -- was elected four times and served a total of 14 years in the state's top office.

Andrus is remembered as a champion for conservation and education.

1,400 people turned out at Boise State Thursday to remember "Cece" and share their memories.

It is not unusual for politicians to get a big turnout from their base, but Cecil Andrus had both love and respect from all sides.

"He inspired people to be better than they were, and that's the essence of good leadership." says former Andrus chief of staff Marc Johnson.

A huge crowd who was inspired by the life and politics of Andrus packed the Jordan Ballroom on the campus of Boise State to say their goodbyes.

For the first time since Andrus' passing, the crowd heard publicly from his family.

"You are all part of the man and his legacy," said Cece's daughter, Tracy. "And, on behalf of his family, we sincerely thank you for being here." 

Tracy Andrus left the politics aside to talk about her dad instead.

"So, what happens when an avid outdoorsman ends up with three daughters?" she asks. "He teaches them how to fish. Early on, daddy would put the worm on the hook for us, and by the time we were 10, we were taught to clean our catch right alongside, and under the watchful eye, of a proud father."

Famously a Democrat in a red state, Andrus did what no one today can seem to do -- garner respect, and even friendship, from across the aisle.

Case in point: Republican Mike Simpson. Simpson read a favorite quote about Andrus from the governor's own biography -- a passage by former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson.

"I came to have a rich regard for that coyote killing s.o.b," read Simpson. "And I'd take any word he pledged to me straight to the bank.  A straight shooter in a land of forked tongues."

A straight shooter with a bulls-eye on integrity.

"And of course, the caring is why we loved him and we followed him and we believed in him and why we mourn him," said Marc Johnson.

The goodbyes may be over, but Idaho will not soon forget the words and the deeds of Cecil Andrus.

The Andrus family will have a private ceremony Friday, September 1, at Boise's Pioneer Cemetery on Warm Springs Ave.