Anchorage, Alaska Vice President Joe Biden recalled that when he was new to the Senate and had just lost his wife and daughter in a car accident, Ted Stevens walked over to him and offered his friendship.
Stevens always held true to his word, Biden said Wednesday at the funeral for the Senate’s longest serving Republican.
“His word was his bond,” Biden said.
“His personal generosity was surprising in how quickly it was offered.”
Biden said he and Stevens supported each other when their first wives died in tragic accidents and celebrated the joys that second marriages brought to both.
Throughout it all, Stevens worked hard for Alaska, Biden said.
“No state has ever had a more fierce defender of that state’s way of life than Ted Stevens,” the vice president said.
Stevens died last week along with four others in a plane crash in southwest Alaska while doing something he truly loved: fishing for salmon.
Thousands attended the funeral, which marked the end of three days of remembrances that began Monday when several hundred people attended a Catholic Mass in Anchorage. Mourners filed past a closed casket Tuesday as Stevens’ body lay in repose at an Episcopal church.
More than 20 current and former senators, governors — including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin — and foreign representatives also attended the funeral, which was broadcast nationally.