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Friends, family remember life of governor, businessman

Friends, family remember life of governor, businessman

Posted: Monday, April 11, 2011 9:04 pm
By: Kevin Bowden, Staff Reporter

Friends, family remember life of governor, businessman | Friends, family remember life of governor, businessman
Staff Reporter
Former Gov. Ned Mc-Wherter certainly lived his life his way and, even in death, he got his wish for the song “My Way” to be played at his memorial.
An instrumental version of the Frank Sinatra classic was played at the conclusion of a special memorial service held Sunday afternoon on the front lawn of the late governor’s Dresden home.
It was on a breezy, humid and near cloudless day that Dresden bid farewell to Tennessee’s 46th governor.
Sunday’s memorial service featured six speakers, ranging from McWherter’s former chief of staff, David Gregory, to McWherter’s son, Mike.
The highlight of the afternoon service was Mike McWherter’s remarks, as he remembered his late father as a very gifted businessman and politician.
His eulogy was both humorous and poignant as he remembered a man who was described as larger than life. He was flanked at the podium by a large framed portrait of his father, as well as a framed copy of House Joint Resolution 221 “to honor the lifetime and memory of the Honorable Ned McWherter of Tennessee.” The late governor’s boots, cowboy hat and gavel were also set up on a table next to the podium.
It was Mike McWherter who took one final knock of the gavel as he made his way to the podium.
He described his father as “ambitious,” “hard working” and “compassionate.”
“He surrounded himself with those who lived a life of dignity,” he said. “There was just something about my father that was genuine and kind.
“He will be sorely missed.”
In addition to Mike McWherter and Gregory, others who spoke about the former governor included his friend and family physician, Dr. F. Karl Vandevender.
The memorial service lasted just over an hour and was attended by a number of dignitaries from Nashville and Washington, D.C. The crowd was estimated at more than 500 mourners.
The service was attended by politicians representing both parties, which was fitting for a man who in life was able to bridge the gap between Democrats and Republicans.
“Dad was always able to find solutions that worked and made everybody happy,” his son said.
On Saturday, a special memorial service was held in Nashville for the former governor (See related story, Page 1).
Sunday’s service in Dresden had a far more local flavor. During and after the ceremony, mourners shared their favorite stories involving the late governor. The common thread that connected all the shared stories was Ned McWherter’s passions — for life, for public service and for Tennessee.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by e-mail at
Published in The Messenger 4.11.11

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