St. Louis Public Radio News
8:49 am
Wed August 19, 2009

State funeral held for Mo. Gov. Hearnes

Jefferson City, MO –

Hundreds of people gathered inside the Capitol Rotunda today to attend the state funeral of former Missouri Governor Warren Hearnes.

A trumpeter and pianist performed gospel standards as the crowd said goodbye to the Show-Me State's 46th governor. The Democrat from Charleston passed away Sunday at the age of 86.

Governor Jay Nixon delivered the eulogy.

"His life, both as a public servant and a private citizen was a testament to the simple fact that one individual can make a difference in the lives of thousands and millions," Nixon said.

Past governors in attendance included Matt Blunt, Bob Holden, Roger Wilson, and John Ashcroft.

A Highway Patrol honor guard placed Hearnes' coffin in a limousine, and a funeral procession circled around the north side of the Capitol.

In honor of Hearnes, the Missouri National Guard fired canon and conducted a helicopter flyover.

Bob Smith of Columbia was House Speaker Pro-tem when Hearnes was a State Representative.

"Well, he was a skinny young guy, and when he was in law school, he was in the legislature at the same time he was getting his law degree...everybody said, 'Yeah, you're getting good grades because you're in the legislature!' We kidded him a lot about that," Smith said.

A second funeral is scheduled Friday in Hearnes' hometown of Charleston.