Former Gov. Kirk Fordice, who had been suffering from leukemia, died Tuesday at University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.
Fordice, like many politicians, had a his fair share of controversially, but all of that was put aside at his funeral. Politicians, family and friends remembered a man known for working hard and succeeding at anything he put his mind to.
Fordice served two terms. At the time, he was Mississippi's first Republican governor in more than 100 years. Fordice was remembered by another republican governor, who held back the tears to tell of good times.
"We said we would help," said Gov. Haley Barbour, recalling when Fordice and his wife Pat told him of Kirk's plan to run for governor in 1991. "In our den that day, we talked about strategy. We gave him a check for the campaign. One thing I told him is, he better be prepared for the charge that he still had Louisiana license plates on his car."
Fordice was a Vicksburg construction executive and long time republican when he ran for office. He was known for candid comments and "tell it like is" leadership.
"One thing about Gov. Fordice is you could always tell where he stood, you know," said Rep. Greg Snowden of Meridian. "If he didn't like something, he would tell you. That's the leadership people appreciate."
"He had a lion heart. He spoke plainly and helped shape this state," said Cong. Chip Pickering. "So we celebrate his life and we grieve with his family."
Even his family remembered a man with an unmatchable work ethic and drive for success. Friends, family and colleagues all said it was that personality that helped Kirk Fordice become success story.
One of the most bittersweet moments of Fordice's passing is that Pat Fordice, who went through a bitter public divorce with the governor after he left office, was at his side this whole week.
Gov. Fordice is survived by three sons and one daughter.