Gov. Reubin Askew / 1928-2014

Services set for former Gov. Reubin Askew

 
 
Former Florida Gov. Reubin Askew.
Former Florida Gov. Reubin Askew.

Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau

Three events next week will honor the life and accomplishments of former Gov. Reubin Askew, who died Thursday at the age of 85.

Askew’s body will lie in state Tuesday in the building where he spent most of his political career as a legislator and governor: the historic Old Capitol in Tallahassee, a legislative history museum. Visitors can pay respects from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

His body will be escorted to the Old Capitol by a military honor guard, and Gov. Rick Scott and the three Cabinet members plan to interrupt a meeting that morning to observe the ceremony.

“It’s almost as if the whole state is taking a pause,” said George Sheldon, a former legislator and state agency head who was in college when he got a job as a legislative aide to Askew in the Senate. “There’s a feeling of remembrance and inspiration.”

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Faith Presbyterian Church, 2200 N. Meridian Rd., Tallahassee. Scott will attend, as will most or all of Florida’s six living former governors.

Askew, a Democrat who was governor from 1971-1979, died of complications from a stroke and pneumonia. The first Florida governor to serve two four-year terms, he was a persistent advocate for open and ethical government, an independent judiciary and racial diversity.

Hundreds of people whose lives Askew touched are likely to attend the memorial service, such as Charles Intriago of Miami, who as a young lawyer worked as a special counsel to Askew in the governor’s office and later was a federal prosecutor for 17 years.

“He helped mold me,” said Intriago, who recalled Askew’s work in establishing the first statewide grand jury.

The Legislature will alter its schedule so its members can attend the service. The House and Senate will move Wednesday’s floor and committee sessions to morning or evening.

On Friday, a graveside service with full military honors will be open to the public for Askew, who was an Army paratrooper from 1946-48 and served in the Air Force during the Korean War in 1951-53.

The service will be at 11 a.m. Central Time at Bayview Memorial Park, 3351 Scenic Highway (US 90 East) in Pensacola, the city where Askew grew up and began his political career as a state representative in 1958.

Contact Steve Bousquet at bousquet@tampabay.com or 850-224-7263.

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