SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon’s 26th Secretary of State Dennis Richardson was honored with a state funeral in the Oregon State Capitol Building in Salem on Wednesday.
Richardson, who was 69, died February 27 after a battle with brain cancer. His body is lying in state in the Capitol Rotunda — giving the public the chance to pay their final respects ahead of his funeral. The funeral service began at 2 p.m. in the House of Representatives chamber.
The fragrance of flowers filled the Rotunda as Richardson’s casket was placed beneath an American flag as the public walked by to pay their final respects.
“Of all the politicians I’ve worked with not one can compare to him in honesty, integrity, and kindness,” said Richardson’s Chief of Staff, Debra Royal.
She said he always went above and beyond his line of duty because he found great joy in serving.
“He just rolls his sleeves up and does anything that it takes,” she said. “And his kindness has no bounds.”
Watch the full funeral on Richardson’s Facebook
Richardson’s staff said he was fiercely dedicated to accomplishing the work he was elected to do. Royal said he cared for Oregonians, especially children in the education and foster care system.
“I think the most important thing that he’s done is he has opened up the Audits division and has shined a light on things in the state that needed to have some sunlight put on them,” she said.
Richardson, an Army veteran, will have military funeral honors conducted by the Oregon National Guard Funeral Honors Team. There will be a funeral flyover with Oregon Army National Guard HH-60M Black Hawk helicopters after a 21-gun rifle salute.
The Morrison Bridge will be lit green on Wednesday night, March 6 to honor Oregon’s late Secretary of State Dennis Richardson on the day of his state funeral in Salem. Our thoughts are with his family. pic.twitter.com/ufLgzcTWMQ— MultCo Bridges (@MultCoBridges) March 5, 2019
He served 6 terms in the State Legislature from 2003-2015 and was the GOP nominee for governor against John Kitzhaber in 2014. He was elected secretary of state in 2016 — the first Republican to hold statewide office in 30 years.
Richardson leaves behind 9 children and his wife Cathy.
Gov. Kate Brown ordered flags at Oregon public institutions to be flown at half-staff and the Morrison Bridge will also be lit up in green on Wednesday night in his honor.