Posted: Oct 21, 2012 9:15 PM by Bernie Riggs - KPAX News
Updated: Oct 22, 2012 8:53 AM
MISSOULA- Former South Dakota Senator George McGovern died on Sunday at the age of 90.
He was a staunch liberal who served South Dakota in the U.S. Senate and House for more than two decades, and who ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic Party nominee for president in 1972, losing in a landslide to Richard Nixon.
McGovern grew up in South Dakota, but in 1997 he purchased a summer home in the Bitterroot Valley with his wife, so they could be close to their daughter in Stevensville, and it was during that time in Montana that McGovern became friends with former Montana Congressman Pat Williams.
Williams said in a Sunday interview that "Montana was our connection," saying he and his wife Carol became family friends with McGovern and his wife Eleanor during their time in the Bitterroot. Williams said McGovern was a kind and generous person, and that the world has lost an important humanitarian. He added that all of us can learn from McGovern's legacy.
"When we remember George McGovern, we ought to remember that politics can be civil. We can get along. We can enjoy, appreciate, and like our opponents, even though we disagree with their policies. As humans we ought to do what George McGovern did, we ought to love them all," Williams reflected.
Even with McGovern's most famous rival - Richard Nixon - that sentiment rings true. When Nixon passed away in 1994, his family asked McGovern to sit with them at the funeral.
McGovern's family said services will be scheduled in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and in lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to Feeding South Dakota.