Former Congressman and Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, Bob Michel, was remembered at a memorial service on Saturday.
Hundreds of people attended the service on Bradley’s campus, greeted by somber music and array of flowers surrounding Michel’s American-flag cloaked casket. Family members and politicians shared their memories of the former politician.
“I look back and try to replicate what I saw and learned while I was growing up,” said his son Scott Michel in an emotional testament.
“What I saw growing up was a larger than life figure with a booming voice, a vivid presence and the bearing of a leader.”
Former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood worked under Michel for 12 of the 38 years he served the 18th District as Congressman. He described the lessons he learned from Michel as being “invaluable.”
“I consider myself a graduate, as well as a number of other former members of his staff sprinkled around here today, of the Robert H. Michel school of applied political arts and sciences,” LaHood said. “His classrooms were his office, the floor of the house, his committee room and the farms and towns of the 18th congressional district.”
Frank Mackaman from the Dirksen Congressional Center reflected on a federal appropriation that helped establish his center.
“When asked why $2.5 million instead of five, Congressman Michel replied, (Everett) Dirksen always said he could do what Hubert (Humphrey) could do for half the money.”
Michel graduated from Bradley University in 1948, making regular contributions to the University following his time as a student. Bradley President Gary Roberts was the first speaker at the ceremony.
“Another thing people here remember about Bob was he was an amazing listener,” said Roberts. “He had a way of making everyone comfortable and able to share their thoughts and ideas.”
Michel passed away last week at the age of 93. A private burial took place at Parkview Cemetery following the service.