AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texans lined up by the hundreds to pay their respects to former Gov. Mark White, who died Saturday at the age of 77.
White’s body was carried into the Capitol to lie in state, as his wife, Linda Gale White, shook the hands of lawmakers and others who offered condolences.
The Democrat from Henderson, who served four years starting in 1983, was known for his approach to public education.
“We will remember him as an extraordinary education governor who was willing to do right for Texas children,” Luci Baines Johnson, daughter of President Lyndon Johnson said.
Donna Beth McCormick worked on White’s gubernatorial campaign in 1982. She wore a “Mark White for Governor” pin to the Capitol on Thursday.
“Here we were with not much money going against Clements who had been a governor, but everybody worked very hard,” she recalled.
McCormick was brought on by Mrs. White as a docent at the Governor’s Mansion.
“Linda Gale White started the program in 1983, and I’ve been a docent there ever since,” McCormick said.
Johnson likened her father’s education commitments to those of White’s.
“My father would have liked to have been remembered as the education president, and Mark being remembered as the education governor,” she said with a smile.
“They both shared with all of us that wisdom is something that we can grow into, and let us all be willing to pursue it always,” Johnson mentioned.
White had a “unique and genuine way of bringing all people together, regardless of their party affiliations,” remembered Lael Hasty, administrative assistant to Linda Gale White from 1983 to 1987.
White, who attended Baylor, was “very influential in Baylor politics,” said Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson, R-Waco.
“Any public servant spends a lot of time and effort, and Mark White was a good one, and served in several rules, and so it’s important for folks to be here and recognize that an honor that and show respect, because after all we are all trying to help the great sovereign state of Texas,” Anderson said. “And we may disagree from time to time but really we are brothers in arms in that respect.”
“I think he was ahead of his time,” Hasty said as she visited the Capitol on Thursday. “He was just charming, he had so much charisma and so much life to him.”
Hasty summed up an emotional week.
“I loved my job working with the White family, and we all have things that we have to process and get over, and I will have to live through it, but the best thing I think of is that Mark’s work will live on,” Hasty said as she fought back tears.
The Texas Senate adjourned in memory of Gov. White on Thursday, with a resolution introduced by Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin. On the Senate floor, three other Democrats spoke of their memories with White.
Johnson said she was grateful to state leaders for honoring him this week.
“He loved this state so much, gave it his all,” she stated. “He may have indeed retired from public office, but he never retired from public service.”
Following the ceremony at the Capitol, White’s body was taken to the Texas State Cemetery, for a private burial.
White leaves behind his wife, three children and nine grandchildren.